Thursday, October 9, 2008

4 years ago

4 years ago today, I met the man of my dreams. It was in Rexburg, Idaho, in my apartment at Tuscany Place, October 9th, 2004. Here is a picture of us in front of that very building, taken this past August on our way to Washington.
I looked out my 2nd floor window and saw the cadets walking through the parking lot to our building door. "Clay, which one is he?" I excitedly asked. (Clay and Kara Noyes were responsible for our meeting, and he was the first one up to our apartment.) Clay came over to where I was and looked down with me. "He's the one in the hat." I watched the head of who I thought was Andrew disappear, and then felt the butterflies in my stomach as we waited for them to climb the stairs. I ran back to check myself in the mirror one more time and then casually walked out to the living room when the door opened. I looked at Andrew - or rather, Andy, as we were first introduced. It turned out that Clay had misdirected me and who I thought was Andrew was actually John Alley. There were a few awkward moments as all of us were introduced (it was a big group, blind date) and we saw who we would be paired up with for the weekend. The cadets had taken a bus to Rexburg from the Air Force Academy in Colorado to perform as the LDS Cadet Choir. While there, Clay and Kara had arranged for all of us to be paired off.
My first impression of Andrew was that he was decent-looking but not drop-dead gorgeous. He had kind of sloppy hair - like a bowl cut - and braces. He wore black athletic pants with a stripe down the side, a navy blue sweatshirt, white tennis shoes with black stripes, and an AF blue hat. (To this day when I see him in that hat, it takes me back to our first meeting.) His first impression of me was a disappointment. See, he had been expecting a "beauty queen" - tall, blonde, and ditzy. (Every man's dream??) Unfortunately, I was short, brunette with glasses and braces, and an English major. (He was most disappointed by the latter, because he thought I was a nerd.)
After chatting for a minute and learning that we both came from a family of 8 kids, we both had braces (that was QUITE obvious), and we both played the piano, we all headed out to a pancake breakfast the school was hosting. Oh, but wait. On the way, we were forced to make an embarassing stop at the piano in the apartment building lounge, where Andrew and I were both forced to play the piano for each other. (Clay and Kara were obviously certain that our common musical abilities would make us fall instantly, passionately, in love. Not to be.) There was a rock-climbing wall, and I remember not wanting to climb up because I didn't want Andrew to see how fat my butt looked in the harness. But he climbed up, and I was very impressed by his thighs and...I must admit...his cute butt. He was very shy, and it was like pulling teeth trying to have a conversation. Especially with Clay and Kara pulling us aside to ask what we thought of each other and everything. AWKWARD.
After the pancake thing, we went over to the baseball fields to watch Luke Coats play an intermural game. As we sat on the bench talking as a group, I remember being more impressed with John Alley than I was with Andrew. Andrew was pretty negative about the Academy, but John seemed like a more positive person. I left early to finish a paper that was due on Monday, and I later learned that Andrew was a little annoyed with that. (Needless to say, we did not make tremendous first impressions on each other!)
That night, we had a nice dinner on campus. All the boys wore their uniforms, and Andrew looked REALLY good in it. Once again, I was a little bugged that he acted so put-out about the military rule of wearing a hat outdoors at all times while in uniform. He walked for a little ways without his hat on just to be rebellious. At the time, the military was sort of an exciting new world to me, and I couldn't understand why he wasn't excited to wear his hat. The dinner was great, and, despite the occasional questionings from our friends about how our blossoming relationship was coming along, we had a great time.
Andrew then had the singular responsibility of being my escort to a dance. The Thursday prior, I had participated in the Miss BYU-I pageant and got 1st attendant. That Saturday night was a dance where the winner, the other attendant, and I were to be presented on the stage in front of everyone. We left the dinner and went to the dance alone together - our first time alone since meeting. We danced on the stage to the Top Gun song "Take my Breath Away." (I later found out that Andrew's family was absolutely SHOCKED that he had danced with me on our first date. Dancing is NOT his thing.) We started getting more relaxed around each other. Our walk home was the first time I remember thinking, "I could like this guy." We were very comfortable together, and I felt absolutely no need, for the first time in my life, to put on any pretense and act like something I wasn't. It was very refreshing.
We went home and changed into different clothes to embark on an adventure in the Civil Defense caves. We hiked down in there (it is PITCH black) and then proceeded break open glowsticks and spatter them all over our clothes, hair, and the floor and walls of the cave. Then we played hide-and-go-seek. It was a blast. Andrew and I laid quietly on the cold, rocky ground next to each other, and I think our arms were touching. Shivers down my spine for two reasons. :) All was well - and getting better - until Clay (and Kam) put on a lantern and a CD and announced that Andrew and I were being awarded "The Newest Couple Under Heaven." I think they made us dance to the music - I actually can't remember. But at that point, the awkwardness came back and Andrew clammed up again. (He was REALLY not one for public humiliation.)
The next morning, before the boys came to pick us up, I recorded a video with Andrew's video camera, which he had left in my apartment. And for some reason, I can't get the video to upload for your viewing pleasure. Maybe some other time. Anyway. They came to get us and we all squished in the back of a car. Andrew and I were sitting WAY close to each other. And maybe I shouldn't record this for posterity's sake, but...while sitting so close to Andrew, I saw that he had a booger slightly hanging from his nostril closest to me. But, strangely enough, it didn't bother me. I know...we were meant to be. We drove to the Idaho Falls temple, watched the movie playing in the visitor's center (I think it was the Testaments), and then fed the ducks. Oh, and we all stepped in duck poo, so the car stunk on the way home.
We went back to Rexburg for church, and after that we played Kissing Rugby in our apartment with the whole group. It was rough, violent, and way fun. I'm pretty sure Chris Culver accidentally gave his date Megan a bloody nose, if I remember right. We finished off the evening by staying up WAY late (in fact, we fell asleep and broke the honor code by not getting home until like 6am!) watching Dumb and Dumber - my absolute least favorite movie of all time. Oh, and John Alley grabbed my hand and flung it at Andrew, resulting in Andrew also getting a bloody nose.

The cadets pulled away from Rexburg after we all said good-bye, and Andrew left without even getting my number. Rude. The rest, as they say, is history...he eventually got my number, we met up in Utah over Halloween weekend, and fell madly in love at Rocky Point Haunted House in Salt Lake, on October 30th.

So today, exactly four years after that fateful day, a few things have changed. Neither of us have braces anymore, but we still play the piano for each other. I would no longer be afraid to get in a harness in front of him, but I'm afraid my butt would look about a million times worse than it would have back then. We are still so comfortable with each other and have great conversations everyday, despite having kids. :) We are absolute best friends, and there is no awkwardness, obviously. We haven't danced together many more times than we did that weekend. Andrew got me Lasik for my birthday a couple years ago, so I no longer have glasses and look like a nerd. I can't believe it's already been 4 some ways I feel like it was just yesterday that we met. But look at us now! We have a beautiful home and two children together, and although we are no longer the "Newest Couple Under Heaven," I think we are still the "Best Couple Under Heaven." It has been the best four years of my life.

I love you a million, Andrew Lea Webb.


AnnEE said...

I freaking LOVED this, Steph! This was so interesting, and cute!! Man, please continue to write things like this- I get to know even more about the time when we were out of touch. Best thing ever!

Ali Flegal said...

Amen to Annee's comment... I love a good love story and as you very well know... this is a GOOD love story :)

Ali Flegal said...

It's better than good.

Stacey said...

Such a cute post! I definitely had no idea about the bloody nose Chris gave to his date--he's gonna get a million questions from me when he gets home tonight!!

Lacking Productivity said...

The AF hat...was that like an AF High School hat? If it is, that's too funny, that is where I teach.

Emily said...

What a fun post! It's so fun to hear how you met; I especially likes the parts about John. :) I wish I could have known you all back then. They sound like good times.