Saturday, January 21, 2012

365 degree turn

Three hundred sixty-five days ago I was sitting at work when a friend and co-worker sent me an instant message. It was a link that changed my life.

When I opened the links that she kept sending me, I soon realized that each one was a different guy, all single. I ran to her room between classes and got the low down on what this was. She explained that this lady in northwest Arkansas, Kelly, does a "Show Us Your Life" every Friday. This Friday happened to be "Show Us Your Singles." I remember laughing hysterically and saying, "Oh my goodness. That is crazy."

I still think it's crazy. Ha.

My friend begged me all day to comment on someone's blog. There was a guy who liked turkey hunting, so she sent me his link. Meehhh. He was all right. Another guy, it was written, was super funny and the family comedian. Meehhh. He was okay. Nothing about any of them really struck me as, "Oh man, that guy's got it going on."

It had been a very long time since I had really dated anyone, and I just didn't even know if I was ready in a normal scenario nevertheless try to talk to someone I had never met before. And like I said, none of them were striking me to the point that it changed my mind.

So that Friday night I didn't feel well, and I stayed home instead of going to the same friend's house. In curiosity I got back on the same blog. Many more people had been added at that point, and I remember clicking on each one and thinking, "Holy cow, these people are crazy. These people are straight up crazy."

Then one caught me eye. It read, "Long, Tall Texan." Ewww. I hated Texas and the ego associated with it. I clicked on that link expecting to seem some tall, skinny, lanky cowboy in tight Wranglers standing in a rodeo arena after riding a wild bronc. In all seriousness, that's what I pictured with the title.

You know what I got instead?

I'm no genius, but I knew that wasn't the visual I had had in my head. I literally remember closing my mouth shut with my hand...I thought he was just mega gorgeous. I stared at his picture for pert near forever. As I read what his sister-in-law had written about him, I had no idea what a petroleum geologist did. All I knew was that he apparently loved sports and the outdoors and Jesus...and that's all I really wanted.

I logged off and went back to watching TV thinking a guy that good looking couldn't possibly be nice. But I just kept thinking about this guy from Texas and for the life of me I couldn't focus on anything else. An hour or two later I found myself back in my office on this very computer trying to muster the courage to say something...anything. I noticed several girls had already expressed interest, but I finally said, "What the heck? It shouldn't be embarrassing. I'll probably never see this guy, so I won't have to worry about him thinking I am creepy or anything."

The next mornning I was keeping gate at a 7th grade basketball game and constantly checking my e-mail. Constantly. I got on Facebook and had a message from his sister-in-law, and I nearly peed all over myself. But I was still at the game and had to control my excitement. That night this "long, tall Texan" added me on Facebook and finally messaged me the next morning. By Wednesday he had asked for my phone number and called me. We talked 3 hours that first night.

Within 2 weeks we had scheduled a time for him to come to Arkansas and visit. Although we had never met at that point, I was enamored. My stomach was in all sorts of knots anxiously awaiting his arrival at the Little Rock airport. The day he was to fly in we actually got a snow day out of school, so I just paced around all day long. I got to the airport, called my sister, and told her I was leaving. I was too nervous to actually pick him up! Luckily, she convinced me to stay.

Finally, his plane arrived. When he called to say he was coming down the escalator, I was seriously too shy to even look up. I was so scared. Scared that he would turn around and run back. Scared that I would turn around and run back (ha). Scared that he was different than what I expected. But also scared that this really might be it...what in the world would I do with myself?

I finally looked up at him and will never forget that moment. I think I was in love right then. He got to the bottom and gave me a big hug, and since that moment he's been the one person whose hugs I've looked forward to the most.

1 year. I can't even believe it. 1 year ago today I sat there wondering if I should put myself out there and say hi to a stranger. Now I sit here with 365 days of memories together and a life I can't imagine not being a part of.

January 2011: Our first e-mail, phone call, and numerous conversations...little did he know how long they would end up being! ;)

February 2011: Our first official meeting although it seemed as though I had known him for a lifetime. Our first real date. His first time to be pulled over in Arkansas, meet my family, and get a picture with Popeye.

our first picture
first Valentine's Day
March 2011: I took him to his first round of horse races in Hot Springs. Then I spent Spring Break in Midland, the first of many trips. I was so nervous to go and meet his family. He showed me drilling rigs, pumpjacks, old Midland, and a gazillion wonderful restaurants. He had a crawfish boil at his parents' house because he knew how much I loved the mess out of some crawfish. I learned that I don't want to live in the country in Midland, I should put on more sunscreen when laying out, and I could meet great friends in TX too. I met the sister-in-law who had written the blog, Ross and Barbara, and everyone else whom Cash had told me so many stories about (including Jett). Hard to believe life without them all now.
Jett playing as Barb and I laid out

play night
my first time to see a rig

the day at Texas Tech

 April 2011: I went back to Midland for Easter. Cash surprised me with a pearl necklace he had bought me at a geology conference in Houston. That's what happens when you date a guy who knows his rocks and minerals! He also took me to my first Midland Rockhounds game.

May 2011: My best friend from high school, Natalie, got married at one of my favorite places on Earth and I got to take Cash to his first Arkansas wedding! He also came in the weekend of my birthday and helped me celebrate with all the people I love as I was leaving only a few days later to the Middle East.

going to Nat's wedding
rodeo action--we go every year for my bday

at my going away party
 June 2011: Cash took me to Dallas and watched me as I made it through security as I was headed on a trip of a lifetime. He got up early several mornings just to coax me through staying another day and listening to me sob about the smells, the food, the heat. Then he got up very early one morning to hear my mom tell him what had happened. He stayed up with me all morning until it was final that I was leaving the Middle East and coming back to the States. After a terrible flight to Amsterdam, he stayed up with me again. Then he met us for dinner in Abilene when I got to fly home. I can't even begin to explain to you what it felt like to finally see him after what we had just went through...and still do. He's my rock.

July 2011: I got to spend more time in Midland after thinking I wouldn't get to spend any time there over the summer. We spent the 4th celebrating with Aaron and Jeanne in San Antonio. I watched him finish his first cycling race. He took me to his company picnic at the Rockhounds game. And we just got to enjoy time together before I went back to work.

an evening of golf with Cash and Nick

cycling for MS

so proud of him!
at the San Antonio riverwalk
August 2011: We had breakfast the morning of August 1, then I drove 10 hours home and went back to work full-time teaching 8th grade. It was a hard month without him toppled with being back at work, but he was there everyday for me to talk to. I was so ready for Labor Day! And then his niece Toby was born, making him the uncle of 2 of the prettiest little girls in the world.

September 2011: Cash came to Arkansas for Labor Day weekend. It seemed like an eternity since I had seen him, and I was so happy when that black Dodge pulled onto Country Lane Drive!

October 2011: We met up in Arlington with his brother, sister-in-law, mom, and BOTH nieces! It was my first time seeing little Toby, and I always love playing with Lena. We had dinner in Ft Worth where Aaron and Jeanne helped me make friends from Arkansas as we bonded over calling the Hogs. The girl sitting next to me finally asked, "Do you know what's going on?!" I said, "We are calling the Hogs!!" She was mortified. The next week I flew to Midland for Claytie's Ranch Party. Best birthday party of my life, hands down. I think I celebrated on the level with Claytie. Oak Ridge Boys and Cash Pullin both in the same night...chalk that up to a great night! Cash also took me to my first Midland High football game as we spent time with Kelli and Dean. Awesome game!

Ranch Party 2011

I <3 Jeanne. Thanks for writing that blog post!

with Toby at Aaron's alumni game

Ranch party

my first Midland High football game...Go Bulldogs!
November 2011: The weekend before Thanksgiving Cash got to come up to Arkansas and go with me to my brother-in-law's first basketball game of the season. Great game as Gravette beat Siloam Springs for the first time in probably 20 years. He finally got to eat at AQ Chicken, and we went to Crystal Bridges.

Crystal Bridges
sorry it's sideways! ha
December 2011: The Pullins let me in on their family Christmas, and I got to spend 6 days with Cash. We made great friends from Romania in Milena and Marius, spent a day filling feeders and checking game cams, celebrated New Year's at Kelli and Dean's, and had New Year's dinner with his family. It was a wonderful holiday break!

filling feeders
 January 2012: Cash came to speak to our Science classes about his job as a geologist. Although it's still way over my head to discuss geology, I couldn't believe how much I had learned in a year's time. He was great with the kids, but I have to say he begged for a foot massage by the end of the day. I took him to his first game at the Airedale Arena and to Oark Cafe. What a weekend..ha!

after his first day of teaching
in the middle of a geology lesson
When I woke up this morning I had 2 texts: one from Cash's brother, a picture of a hog he shot just to rub that in my face. And one from Cash telling me happy "anniversary." As I went through the day I just thought of how much my life has changed in a year's time. On this day last year I was starting grad school, trying to get details together of my upcoming teaching trip to the Middle East, and being blessed in my single life. Now I find myself not only in a wonderful relationship with the man of my dreams but also friends with so many more people I would have otherwise never met. Cash's family has become some of the closest people to me (despite his brother's undesirable love for LSU. *puke*). And his friends are always so welcoming anytime I see them while I'm in town.

And that "long, tall Texan" visual I had? Well, I see some of those running around west Texas every once in a while (shout out to big Russ!). My Texan, however, happens to go for more of the GQ style vs the Wrangler style, play rugby vs ride broncs, go flyfishing vs catfish noodling, read the Great Gatsby vs King of the Cowboys, and shop for bow ties vs chaps. And that's more than fine by me, because I wouldn't trade one thing about Cash Pullin for anything in the world...even for a Razorback victory.

In the past year I've also learned that there is a reason for that Texas ego. Maybe if you ever visit the Alamo you would understand too. If there's anything I love more than being a Razorback, it's the Lonestar State. My how life has changed in 365 days...

Happy "anniversary", Cash. I love you!


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