I need to explain that Carol and I went out from the fall of 1994 to the spring of 1996 then broke up, for good and reasonable reasons, it seemed at the time. She then went out with other people – her boyfriend was a particular jerk to her, but that’s another matter – and soon I was trying to get back with her. We were both in her brother Dan’s wedding to Tracy in September of 1996; that wasn’t awkward AT ALL…
Then in August 1998, I made this one last effort to woo her back. I remember kissing her at Five Rivers nature preserve in October 1998, much to her surprise. Then there was the party she helped plan for watching my first appearance on the game show JEOPARDY! on November 9. But she wasn’t there; her high-paid, but stressful job in insurance had her in Madison, Wisconsin that day.
So I did not anticipate that when she got back to town a few days later, she not only decided to go out with me, but to quit her job (which she did in February 1999), and go back to school to become a teacher again. (She had taught for a couple years in the mid-1980s.)
Soon enough, we decided that we would get married, but I didn’t ask her specifically, because her brother Mark was getting married to Leanne on January 1, 1999, and we did not want to upstage them. We got engaged at an Albany restaurant called Justin’s on January 16, and decided that waiting a long time to get hitched was not a great idea, given our ages, especially if we wanted to have children.
We threw together a wedding in less than four months, due in no small part to the help of my father, and, as noted, got married on May 15, 1999.
Now, Carol had planned a trip to Scotland in July 1999 with her friend Jeanne. (Sidebar: I went out on one date with Jeanne in October 1998, with the primary intent to make Carol jealous.) They had booked this trip before Carol and I were even going out again. We, as a “modern” couple thought it would be fine; we weren’t people who were “clingy” or “defined by our spouse.”
I’m in this old house I wasn’t that familiar with, the one she’d bought seven years earlier. Every creaky noise, which MUST have been there the two months I had been living there, sounded so loud I couldn’t sleep; I was pretty miserable. And while Carol had a reasonably good time, she was pretty unhappy without me for a week.
We’ve been away from each other since then, the longest when she went to Ukraine a couple years later, but no separation we experienced was as bad as that first one.