mandyholbert

A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Boy Meets Girl October 10, 2012

How did Ronnie and I meet, you ask?  Well, it’s a long story.  Actually, you didn’t ask, and it’s a pretty short story, but I’m going to tell it anyway.

I was employed at a home improvement super store which was not Lowe’s while I was a college student.  Here’s some advice for all you eighteen-year-old girls out there: this is a great job if you don’t mind being propositioned, objectified, hit on, flirted with, asked out, and stared at by customers and employees, most of whom are at least twice your age, on a very regular basis. Anyway, I worked there, and I hated it.  I was offered money to give a father and son who came through my check-out line a private dance.  An employee asked me to stay with him while his wife and kids went out west to visit family.  And those were just the stand-outs.  I was literally asked out so often that I quit even looking at the person I was turning down.  You’d think a woman had never stepped foot in that store before.

So, one day I was working the register in the lumber end of the store.  I didn’t have men on my mind at all, but then a really attractive man came through my line with a cart full of materials to build a privacy fence.  I rang him up slowly and tried to catch his eye the whole time. He wouldn’t look at me.  I checked his finger for a ring.  Nothing.  He was driving me crazy by not looking up.  All those men who asked me out constantly, and the ONE TIME I wanted to be noticed, this guy wouldn’t give me the time of day!  Arg!

Finally, he had to look up as I gave him his total – somewhere around $300.  I smiled as I took his debit card from him, and he smiled back a little.  I was thinking he might actually talk to me, and then the dreaded thing happened – the end of any conversation we may have had – his debit card was declined.

Darn it.  Darn it.  Darn it.

I bashfully told him the news, and he fumbled around with his wallet and mumbled something about a paycheck not going in and running home to get the cash and being right back.  I knew it would be a miracle if Mr. Hottie ever came back.  I just knew he didn’t have the cash at home.  I pulled his cart over to the side, fully expecting to have to return all the lumber to its rightful place before my shift was over.

He came back.

I rang him up again, and we didn’t talk the whole time.  I had given up on even trying to be cute with him.  I gave him his total and he paid with cash.  He thanked me and started rolling that cart right out the door.

I sighed and watched him leave.  He sure was a good-looking one.  Strong.  Polite.  Ooo, and he builds fences, so he’s handy.  And those eyes!  Those big blue eyes…Oh, well.

The automatic doors opened as his cart passed through.  Instead of walking, though, he turned around and blurted out, “Do you want to go out sometime?”

I think it surprised both of us.

He recovered a little and walked back to my register, leaving his purchase in limbo.

“Umm…what’s your name?” I asked.  I couldn’t remember it off the debit card.  After all, it didn’t actually work.

“Ronnie.”

And then, from some deep-rooted, recently burned-by-an-idiot-who-said-he-loved-me place inside me, all these questions came pouring out like the rat-a-tat-tat of machine gun fire:

“Do you smoke?  Do you drink?  Do you party?  Do you go to church?  Do you still have your tonsils?  Do you or have you ever supported Ross Perot?  Coke or Pepsi?  Butter side up or butter side down?  Do you have any children?  Do you enjoy bonsai?  Do you speak Spanish?  Do you wish you spoke Spanish?  Are you divorced?  Do you use drugs?  Are you gay?  Do you have any skeletons in the old proverbial closet?  Do you brush your teeth with hot water?  Do you snore?  Are you a vegetarian?  Do you have a criminal record?”*

Whew!  I took a deep breath.  Ronnie was still alternating between nodding and shaking his head with a very confused look on his face.  When we both recovered, we stood there looking at each other for several moments.

I shrugged.  “Well, I don’t go out with people I don’t know, but here’s my number.”  I handed him a scrap of a yellow sales flyer with my name and number written on it.  He took it and put it in his pocket.  He walked back to his cart and pushed it on out the door.

I never thought he would call me.  Especially after the irrational interrogation I had just subjected him to.

But, he did.

We talked for an hour that first time.  We went out the next night.  And we’ve been together ever since.

Don’t ask me why he would have called me even after I went all crazy-girl on him.  But I’m sure glad he did.  We are perfect for each other.

Maybe he knew that.

* This was twelve, almost thirteen, years ago.  I can’t remember exactly what I asked him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this were pretty accurate.

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Why I changed my major to English – a very embarrassing story June 1, 2012

When I was eight years old, we lived near Burlington, VT.  It was beautiful there, and the house that we lived in bordered woods that we loved to explore.  We found creeks, trails, and even old sugar shacks.  There were always things to do and adventures to be had.  My middle sister (my youngest sister was just a baby) and I had vivid imaginations, and it wasn’t unusual for us to be in the woods for hours at a time acting out whatever drama we had conjured up for the day.

that’s me on top of the sister totem pole

Imagine my surprise one day when my pretending turned into a real adventure.  As I was traipsing through the woods, something caught my eye under some greenery.  I investigated and realized I had uncovered something monumental.  It was a bone.  A backbone to be precise.  I brushed it off and ran home to show my parents.

My dad and my grandpa took one look at the bone and started whispering to each other.  I knew I heard the word “dinosaur” in their murmurings.  I was so excited!  To think that I had uncovered a dinosaur bone was a dream come true!  They stopped whispering and talked to me very seriously.  They told me that I should take that bone to school to let the librarian try to identify it.

That’s exactly what I did.  I remember plopping that backbone right on the librarian’s desk the next day at school.  I vaguely remember the librarian’s discomfort and hesitancy to handle the specimen.  She guessed it to belong to a long-gone cow and politely asked me to pack it back up and take it out of her library.

For some reason, I was unfazed.  I took it back home, and my dad and grandpa agreed she was unreasonable in her assessment.  My grandpa offered to use his new computer (those were uncommon back then) to write a letter to the Vermont Museum for me.  We asked them to identify the bone, and dad and grandpa kindly packaged the bone and sent it and the letter to the museum.

English: Digging dinosaur fossils in the field

English: Digging dinosaur fossils in the field (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The letter I received a few weeks later in response was one of the best moments of my life.  It came from the Vermont Museum, and it was addressed to me.  My hands were trembling as I opened it.  I read that letter over and over.  It thanked me for my contribution to the museum – the contribution of a dinosaur bone!  It went on to identify the species of dinosaur and to tell me that the bone would be displayed in the museum.  Wow!  I was thrilled.

English: A dinosaur in the natural history mus...

English: A dinosaur in the natural history museum, NYC (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fast forward to me in college.  I was a biology major taking every class offered by the head of the science department, Dr. Allen.  He was brilliant, his classes were challenging and thought-provoking, and I had to work really hard to make A’s in his classes.  It was important to me to impress him.  I even facilitated a study group for one of his biology classes.

One day, his lecture was on dinosaurs, and I (being the overachiever that I am) raised my hand and told him and the rest of my collegiate biology class about the discovery I made in Vermont as an eight-year-old.

I remember feeling my confidence in my story waver a little bit when he asked me for the details, but I knew I had the evidence at home – the letter from the Vermont Museum.  I ignored his obvious skepticism and smugly assured him I would bring the letter with me the following day.

I went home and dug through the years of school work, art, awards, and report cards my mom kept from my years of schooling.  After quite a search, I finally found it, still in the original envelope addressed to me.

My mind went back to the first time I read that letter.  I relived those proud moments before I opened it – the moments I contributed to the anthropological history of the great state of Vermont – the day I confirmed that I had discovered a dinosaur bone.

I looked at the envelope.  Huh, that’s funny – no return address…

I opened it and unfolded the official letter from the Vermont Museum.  And it’s not on letterhead.  Maybe they didn’t have it back then…

Then I read the letter, and my world came crashing down.  This is a hoax!!!  The letter is a fake!  

I quickly found my dad and confronted him with the letter, and he readily admitted his part in the joke.  Good one, eh?  Grandpa and I really had you going.  You ate that up when you were little.  You really thought you found a dinosaur bone!  

DAD!!!!!  I JUST TOLD MY BIOLOGY PROFESSOR THAT I FOUND A DINOSAUR BONE WHEN I WAS LITTLE!!! NO ONE EVER TOLD ME THIS WASN’T REAL!  WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW!?

My dad rolled on the floor laughing.

And I promptly changed my major from biology to English.

True story.