Friday, January 2, 2009

How We Met

Since you asked after this space shuttle mention, here is the story of how Jason and I met.

WARNING: This story includes alcohol, bowling and sappy cheesiness that is uncharacteristic.

I have to tell you that this seems surreal to type as I'm eating breakfast with our children. Our 3 year old is distraught because we can't find Henry's coal tender to be at the table with him. He also just told me his hand was "sad" and I had to kiss it to make it better. And our 1 year old is in a high chair deciding what to feed the dogs for breakfast- cheerios or bananas- his constant struggle.

So, let me swat the dust off this story for you.

When I was in 6th grade, I went to Space Camp with a friend who had asked me to go with her. Her dad found out that you could get a cheaper rate if a friend came with you, so she talked me into it. We got to miss a whole week of school and then did a report about it when we came back. My grandmother paid for me to go, so she still claims that she's responsible for Jason and me meeting.

While we did NOT meet in 1990 as Space Camp campers, we did meet in 1998 as Space Camp Counselors. See, I did not leave Space Camp thinking that I wanted to be an astronaut; I wanted to come back to be a Space Camp counselor. I thought it was the coolest place in the world and I just knew I wanted to work there. Dorky? Yes. But when I went back in 1998 to work there, I was surrounded by my own kind: space geeks.

At our counselor orientation with about 100 new employees, they told us to look around. And then said, "because traditionally at least 4 of you will get married". I'm still not sure if that was a scare tactic or a promise, but I will never forget it.

I found out (first-hand) later that all the conditions to make a love connection are there at Space Camp: 1) you are in a close environment that is it's own microcosm of the world- as in, you eat, sleep, work and play there 2) everyone has to have at least 2 years of college so some of your wild- I just got to college and WOOOOOOOO- days are out of your system and 3) you find out someone's true personality when they are around children.

I saw Jason teaching Shuttle Orientation under the Space Shuttle Pathfinder one of the first days that I was in training. He was definitely cute and had a great way of relating to children. But I only saw him in passing for a few weeks after that. Then we met again at a party in the dorms. We were playing cards and drinking (chewing?) jello shots. Apparently, I was allergic to whatever alcohol was in the jello shots and broke out with big whelps all over. (Let me note here that while I said that we lived at Space Camp, that summer there were so many counselors that I lived at the UAH dorms which were down the street. So there is not any alcohol on the Space Camp facility in case you are a parent and want to send your child there. Obviously, I would highly recommend the program if you're okay with hungover counselors .)

So, I think Jason kept asking me if I was okay because of the large red whelps on my face and neck. I really know how to get a guy's attention, don't I? Oh well. It worked.

We went bowling with a big group that next week and we made a bet: if he won then we would go out on a date and I would pay for it and if I won then we would go out on a date and he would pay for it.

Pretty sneaky way of asking me out on a date, but I thought it was cute and played along. He only beat me by one pin. And he did end up paying for the date.

We went to IHOP (the only place open since I worked the night shift from 3pm- 11pm) and stayed there for 4 hours talking. Then we saw each other every night that week. After our 3rd date, I stayed up all night because I could not quit thinking about him. It was the weirdest sensation. I called my mom at 6am and here was the conversation:

Mom: Who in the world is calling at 6 am?
Me: It's me.
Mom: Are you okay?
Me: Yes, I've met the man I'm going to marry. (I'm sure that was sap oozing out of her phone at this point.)
Mom: OK. How long have you been dating?
Me: 3 daaaaaaaaaayyyss. He's wonderful.
Mom: Well, you might want to date him a little bit longer.

And so we did. We dated long distance (which is painfully hard) for 2 years while I finished college 3 1/2 hours away and saw each other every weekend. I came to work at Space Camp for any possible break so we could be in the same city. We even got a dog (Leia) together my senior year and had "joint custody".

After college they offered me a full time job at the Space Center, so that's how I got here for good! And we got engaged in September of 2000 and married in April of 2001. (I guess I should say that that's how I got here for good.)

So, over 10 years later, we are still in it for the long haul. I still think he's cute and he still makes me kick my heel when I'm with him. Even with an orbiter on his head.


Hollie and Janie said...

That is such a sweet story!! Yall are so precious!! Also, I LOVE google reader! It's so wonderful... all your blogs on one page... fabulous!!!

LOOK WHO'S MARRIED!!!! said...

OMG. That is the cutest story EVER. Thanks, Hillary!

becky said...

heehee!! in true form, that story is HILLarious!! love it. and i think all of us have a super cheese story. i mean, we're teenagers. well, may as well be (as i say at 30 years old!!)

cd said...

A match made in heaven and an answer to a mother's prayer. Love 'ya!

BASSakward Tales said...

that is the greatest "how we met" story...i met my hubby on a blind date...his first words to me were "I am never getting married"...7 months later I was walking down the aisle...oh how we control our men....

Lydia said...

That is a great story!! Thanks for sharing!

Gray Matters said...

What a great story to tell those boys one day.

~k said...

Oh Hill- I have always wondered!
Not sure why I didn't already know!
Thanks for the great story!

holly said...

OMG! This made me think of something so funny! At your wedding, I was sitting in the balcony w/ Misty and Ben. When you were walking up the aisle, Ben said "They are about to take one giant step for mankind." Ha!

Diana Williams said...

So I know that this is a late comment to this post...but your timing is close to mine and Pat's :) Starting dating in '98, dated while I was going to grad school in b'ham while he stayed at camp, alternated weekends, but then I got a job in Atlanta and he came here. Engaged in '00 and married in May '01. So that's at least two married couples that started dating from the '98 gene pool (though Pat and I both started in '96). Diana

Anonymous said...

Hey! Sounds like we have a similar story! I would love to track down all the Space Camp marriages (counselors only). I even wore the Space Camp garder!
Thanks for the fun story!

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