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Happy Anniversary – He Said Style

So, on the occasion of our 10th anniversary, Anissa and I decided to do something a little bit whacky. We’ve decided to do a he said/she said about our first date. This will probably be the story I tell to my grand kids one day. As you’ll soon read, it could probably stand a little polishing. Just to mess with her, I had an inclination to describe an entirely different night…but in wanting to stay married, I’ll go with this one.

Before I go into that though, I feel I must set the stage first. I was in the last month or 2 of my senior year of college. I was pretty much out of funds, and hadn’t yet decided what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was considering grad school. I think it was either that or go work for an airline. I’m actually blanking on what my other choice was. Anissa was at a crossroads in her life. She had recently moved back in with her parents and was known to stay up late surfing the web in its infancy…on AOL…over a dial-up connection…charged by the minute.

We met online believe it or not. It was a dark and stormy night and she happened to be one of 3 women online in Daytona that night. Anissa was the only one who could actually hold a conversation for longer than a minute. I think the first words we typed back and forth were something along the lines of:

“Hi! Whatchadoin?”

“Trying to save the world by ignoring obnoxious people who IM me randomly”

“Neat! How’s that working out?”

I think it was probably a few days of random gabbing sessions between us before we decided to share pictures. I sent over the only picture I had of me on a computer. It was this really far off shot of me that summer in Alaska. I didn’t want to scare her away. She sent over this glamour shot of her. She was gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. She looked like a model. I knew immediately she was WAY out of my league and I had no chance whatsoever. Of course that pretty much took the pressure off, so I was able to just be me. Ok, sorry, I’m rambling. Long story short (too late), we chatted online for hours on end over the next several weeks. Some nights it was me chatting. On a very rare occasion it was one of my roommates, Andy or John. Yes, it was a group effort. Hey, I needed help and my friends were happy to lend a hand.

After several weeks of chatting, we decided to meet. I took a friend of mine down to the bar she worked at and didn’t introduce myself at first. I ordered something and just watched. She lit the place up. I saw a woman who was fun. After a few minutes, I introduced myself and we just started gabbing some more. I asked her if she’d be interested in going out to lunch sometime and she said yes! Simple right? Boy meets girl.

The night before our scheduled lunch date, at about 2 AM, my phone starts ringing. It doesn’t stop. You know how freaked out you get when the phone rings late at night. I thought something bad had happened. I answer the phone, and it’s Anissa. She had gone out that night with some friends and they wound up taking her keys away from her because she shouldn’t drive. She looked through her beeper (remember those?) and saw my number and decided to beg for a ride home.

So there I am at 2:30 AM, driving through the back streets of Daytona during one of those torrential downpours in my beater car that has no windshield wipers. I find the club she’s at, meet her friends, gather her up, and drive her home. When we get to her house, she gets out of the car and has a Ms. Piggy moment with a tree in her parent’s front yard. She walked right into it, fell down, and popped right back up. I made sure she got in the door before I started to back out of the driveway. For the record, I was a complete gentleman that night. I didn’t even try to hold her hand.

She had said she would call me the next morning. I woke up, and got busy doing things, but kind of kept an eye on the clock. The phone never rang. I think it was around noon or so when I got a little antsy and called to check up on her. She was just waking up and had a rather large headache.

We decided to go to her favorite Chinese restaurant. I picked her up at her parents’ house and off we went.

I’m having a hard time coming up with a description of our lunch other than it was amazing. About halfway through it, I realized I didn’t want it to end, and I guess I got my wish. It was the lunch you want to have with someone you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. We talked about everything. We talked about anything. There was never that awkward lull in conversation. Some of it was deep conversation. Some of it, eh, not so much.

At the end of our meal, the waitress brought over fortune cookies. The message in her cookie was something along the lines of “It doesn’t snow in Miami.” Real meaningful. Mine read, “You have found what you were looking for.” I kept that in my wallet for years. I think it finally disintegrated on the 10th time my wallet went through the washing machine over the years.

Another for the record, we went Dutch. I was a broke college student!

After lunch, I took her to get her car, and sometime in there we decided to continue on into the evening and rent a few movies. So we roamed through Blockbuster until we found the most “perfect” movies for a date. I think we rented 3 movies, but I can only remember 2 at the moment: The Last Supper and some Jack the Ripper documentary. Yeah I still don’t know where the heck those came from. The Last Supper is actually a movie about young college students who invite these extremists over for dinner and conversation. If the college students can’t change the extremists’, minds during dinner, the extremist winds up buried in their backyard. Yeah…REAL ROMANTIC aren’t I? I didn’t pick the movies…ok, so I picked one. Anissa was telling everyone in the Blockbuster to remember her face just in case she turned up missing.

So we headed back to my apartment, and all my friends decided to show up at the same time and watch the movies with us. What is it about college? A movie shows up and whammo people crawl out of the woodwork. The cool thing was that she had a chance to put faces to the names of all my friends at the same time. The uncool thing was that it was a date and my friends never got that hint. They just decided to camp out. I can’t recall now if we played blackjack or poker. I think someone actually broke out a board game or maybe it was a computer game. The bottom line is that she just rolled with it and we all had fun.

That’s pretty much how our first date went. It wasn’t what you would call traditional, but it seemed to work out ok for us. 10 years later, we’ve got 3 kids, a dog, a book full of stories, a million laughs, a thousand tears, and each other, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Anissa’s mom likes to say that I took her on one date and just never brought her home. My response to that is, how could I? I needed a “graduation girlfriend!” 🙂

That pretty much sums it up. Anything Anissa says to the contrary is all here say, fabrications, or ramblings.


6 Comments on “Happy Anniversary – He Said Style”

  1. #1 dug
    on Mar 28th, 2008 at 10:58 am

    what a cool idea. you guys are awesome.

    now its time to get back to the bachelor weekend…im thinking nap, pizza and a beer and then fall asleep in the recliner…yeah im talkin gettin CRAZY.

    i do plan on sliding in my underwear, but probably be more like
    [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnS4lBVdDK4]Party Boy[/url]

  2. #2 basi
    on Mar 28th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Pete and Annisa,
    Congrats on your anniversary. Very interesting stories. Thanks for sharing. I wish you many more years together. These tough times will pass and what will be left is a stronger bond between your hearts.

    God bless,

    p.s. Mark and I will be celebrating 9 years of marriage next week!

  3. #3 Julie Vercouteren
    on Mar 28th, 2008 at 2:00 pm


    Pete & Anissa,

    Happy 10 year anniversary!!! You both crack me up. I loved reading how you met. By the way- your stories both seemed to match with no ramblings or fabrications by Anissa!!!

    I hope you have a wonderful celebration!! Andrew and I got the rare opportunity to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in San Francisco. Of course, I was newly pregnant with Rebecca and we did a lot of walking and sight seeing so I was dragging a bit, but we had fun!!!

    I think maybe you and Pete should write a book together. Your first date which turned into a series of dates could easily be a book by itself.

    Happy Anniversary.


  4. #4 Shelley
    on Mar 28th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Between the internet (dial-up, ewwww) and one too many drinks I think the 2 of you ended up just where you were meant to be. My husband and I decided since we were each on our second marriage we should be married on April 1. Yes, April Fools Day! It was the best foolish thing either of us ever did (and he always remembers). We'll celebrate our 10th anniversary on Tuesday. Soul mates end up together one way or the other no matter what the circumstances 🙂

    Hope to meet you soon, maybe at Katies Bowl a Thon.


  5. #5 Debbie Hale
    on Mar 28th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Happy anniversary to both of you! I loved reading both your accounts of your meeting and first date…interesting! I hope you have many more wonderful years together!!

  6. #6 Traci
    on Mar 31st, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    That is just the way Anissa told it to me! lol
    I havent read hers yet but yours was dead on what she told me years ago.
    You two are AWSOME !
    Love ya