More blood, Applebee’s, De La Hoya, Elise and Me

Luckily the workday named Friday was sucked into the violent black hole of weekend haste, making it fly by. I recruited my friend, Luciana to donate blood early in the afternoon. I walked to the Blood Bank with her and acted as coach. I neglected to tell her about the finger stick that checks for iron levels in the blood. She was mad at me. I stood there as the phlebotomist told her that her veins were really thin and that they might not be able to hit one on the first try. She glared at me again. Hey, it’s not my fault that she was constructed with narrow plumbing!

Luciana was nervous as they swabbed her arm with iodine. I talked to her about her and her husband’s upcoming weekend trip to Austin to keep her mind off of the needle that was about to jab her. Pop! Needle went in, she squinted her eyes and the blood went racing through the tube and into the bag. All went well – they were able to draw blood on the first try.

After they drew a pint, Luciana decided to watch as the needle was extracted. Again, for whatever reason, I was in trouble. I guess I was supposed to tell her that they used a 16-gauge needle to draw blood. Her eyes were the size of dinner plates when she saw the needle. She started pivoting her ankles and said “Eeeewww!” I laughed and told her that the hard part was over.

Luciana, David and I went to Applebee’s for lunch after the bloodletting. I don’t know why I let myself eat at Applebee’s. I hate that place. The funny thing was, it was my recommendation. The three of us “new kids” have lunch together once a week or so. Usually we get into either David or Luciana’s car and start driving before we decide where we’re going. There have been a few times when we spent half of our lunch hour driving around trying to figure out where we want to go. This time I just spoke up and said “Applebee’s”. I’m retarded.

David had the Chicken Fried Steak. Luciana had the half order Oriental Chicken Salad. I had the Garlic-Crusted Shrimp Caesar Salad. David’s lunch looked good. Luciana received a small plate of soggy chow mien noodles. I got the big platter of iceberg lettuce, sour mayonnaise and frozen, prepackaged seafood byproduct. I didn’t taste any garlic. It was pretty gross. My ‘shrimp’ tasted like it was dredged in the same batter that David’s CFS came from. I was hungry though, so I ate most of it.

The rest of the day flew by.

Elise and I got home around the same time. I ate a leftover chicken fried steak, inspired by David’s lunch, that I had made on Thursday. I can guarantee my CFS is better than Applebee’s. El ate leftover tacos. We ran to our local video store and rented Blade II. I really liked that movie. Cool makeup and special effects sequences. The DVD came with a separate ‘making of’ disk that was just as good as the movie. Reaper vampires rule.

I woke up early on Saturday and gave the trusty Shadow a thorough cleaning. I probably spent half an hour on the back wheel alone. After having been rained on all the way to Austin last weekend, I had accumulated quite a bit of road sludge and chain slingings. I rode over to the video store to return Blade II and to Supercuts to get my ears lowered.

It was getting hot outside when I got home, so I laid in bed, tried to nap and watch Jaws. I couldn’t fall asleep so I got up and set up our Intranet home page. An Intranet home page is pretty pointless when you have a network neighborhood icon on your desktop. Oh well… I just wanted to test out Windows 98SE Personal Website Server. That killed a good hour. While doing my preliminary research, I thumbed through my file cabinet in search of my router’s documentation. I found a ‘web guide’ for my old US Robotics 56.6k modem. I read up on all of the new and improved features for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 2.0. Wow! This browser supported tables and frames. It’s funny to see how browsers have evolved.

Elise and I left Temple around 5 p.m. for Sallie Mae’s employee picnic at Reunion Ranch, just south of Georgetown. We arrived just in time to grab a couple free beers and our fajita dinners. I opted for the beef fajitas. The meat was from either a shoulder or leg roast. I’m used to fajitas from a skirt steak. Dinner was much like any other banquet-type fare – bland to ensure satisfaction majora.

We stayed long enough to see if we won anything in the raffle. No winnings for the Janicek’s. El and I both pointed out that we’ve never won anything. Wait… I take that back. I think I won concert tickets one time from a radio station. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t a big event – perhaps some local band that played when we were living in Austin. Then again, I could just be trying to convince myself that I’ve won something before.

Sallie Mae gave away some nice prizes: PS2’s, Xbox’s, DVD players, stereos, TV’s, camcorders, cash. I kept thinking eBay, should we have won. Well, Elise would have won, so the prize’s fate would have been up to her. We didn’t stay long enough to see what the grand prize was.

I met a couple people that Elise works with. There was one girl and her husband that Elise really wanted me to meet. We never found them. We did chat with a girl with whom El works with and her family of four. The father/husband was wearing some really weird, brown contact lenses. I guess that’s a good way to make sure someone looks you in the eyes when you’re talking to them. I always thought it would be cool to get solid white contact lenses – you know, so it would look like you had ping pong balls for glazzies.

We left Reunion Ranch just shy of 9 p.m. and headed to Austin. We had to swing by Texture to pick up your humble narrator’s debit card. We left it there last Saturday night while out with Philip. Luckily we arrived early enough to beat the soon-so-be intoxicated masses on 6th Street. Texture doesn’t open until 10 p.m. Luckily I tried the door and it opened. I found the manager and got my debit card back.

We then headed to Tommy’s to watch the Oscar De La Hoya vs. Fernando Vargas fight on the 47″ wide screen. Tommy’s new TV is great and all, but after 26.8 years of watching television in a 4:3 aspect ratio, everyone looked really short. I guess when the 16:9 aspect ratio becomes mainstay, it’ll be easier to adjust.

This was a great fight. I’m not that much of a boxing fan, mainly because I’m partial to the martial arts. Just think of the havoc if these brutes used their legs. Anyway, I guess that’s why boxing and martial arts exist separate from one another.

I was going for De La Hoya. I didn’t voice my vote because, well, I usually don’t if nobody asks. Nobody asked so I smiled when De La Hoya pummeled Vargas in the 12th round. They both beat the crap out of each other. I don’t remember what weight class Vargas and De La Hoya are in, but I like watching the smaller guys fight because they don’t hug each other after each punch thrown. They bounced around and traded licks for the full 12 rounds. I also wanted De La Hoya to win because he’s always stood out to me as the ‘good guy’, plus, Fernando Vargas has really bad hair. Vargas was cocky throughout the whole fight. De La Hoya let loose in the 12th, nailed Vargas into the corner and the referee stopped the fight. It was exhilarating, for lack of a better word.

We left Tommy’s in the wee hours of the morning to head back to bustling Temple. In the car, Elise asked me what the date was. I told her “September 15th”. She asked if I knew what today was. I engaged myself in a frantic inner monologue, queried my random access cranial database and came up with nothing. I knew it wasn’t our anniversary – that’s on the 22nd. I was ready to get myself into trouble for not remembering some significant relationship milestone. I was reminded that on September 15th, four years ago, Elise and I had our first date.

Girls remember that sort of thing. The only reason I [should have] remembered that date is because we tried to have our wedding on that very date. It was also our boyfriend-girlfriend anniversary. We couldn’t have our wedding on September 15th because someone else had already reserved our [El’s] church. So, we opted for the following Saturday.

I first met Elise in 1997 in the Saint Edward’s photo lab. I was but a Photo II student, trying to break free of my Computer Science major that I was doing extremely poorly in. Elise was a photo lab monitor. I fell in love with her when I first laid eyes on her. I don’t remember exactly what she was wearing that day – all I remember is that she had a bandana in her hair and my mind was set on finding a way to flirt and eventually ask her out.

I rearranged my lab schedule so I could be sure to be doing my photo work during the hours in which Elise was lab monitor. I was never the outgoing, “hey, give me your phone number” type guy. Like clockwork, there was a reciprocating element of flirting that ensued. The indirect flirting began by telling jokes in the company of my classmates in the gang room while developing pictures. Eventually Elise and I started talking more one on one as the semester progressed. I never asked her out. I thought she was too cute to not be one of the most popular girls on campus. I was intimidated by my thoughts that she already had a boyfriend, or had dates lined up for the rest of her college tenure.

Yours truly was, at the time, stuck in a dead-end relationship. Elise was very much desired but I guess I settled for the comfort and past I had with dead-end friend. I guess I was afraid to take the risk and just ask Elise out on a date. I’ve never really dated before – you know, played the field. It seems like I always just had a girlfriend.

On the ride back from Tommy’s house on Sunday morning, I told Elise that I owe a lot to a girl named Traysie. Around the time that I first me Elise, I went out on a ‘double date’ with some college friends and dead-end friend. Brent and I were big into playing pool at the time. He and I put our quarters up on a table at Fat Tuesday’s, a 6th Street bar that we frequented. We were waiting on two girls of the same age to finish their game. The two girls decided that Brent and I had to play them for the table.

Well, Brent and I won the game – and to make a long story short, I won the girl. The two girls we played pool with were Traysie and Darian. I flirted with Traysie and she flirted back. I was doing this in the company of dead-end friend. Even as tears were shed before leaving the bar, I slipped Traysie my phone number with the old handshake trick.

Traysie called me the next day. She and Darian were from Dallas and in town for the weekend. Brent and I went and had dinner with them at Carlos and Charlie’s on the lake. Because of my failure to ask Elise out and the realization that I was in a bad relationship, I finally decided to take the risk with Traysie. That ‘date’ finally started the end of my sentence with dead-end friend.

Traysie and I didn’t last very long. A few months maybe. I forgot how that one ended – I don’t really care to remember. She was really annoying. Despite that, she was the reason I finally broke all ties with dead-end friend.

For the first time, ever since the hair on my legs started getting longer and darker and my voice started cracking, I was a bachelor. My parents were nice enough to let me live in a one-bedroom apartment. I was truly a bachelor. I was happy. I met a lot of the friends that I still have to this day. We did stupid bachelor things and I enjoyed the time being a single man and hanging out with other guys.

I started working hard at the country club, made some decent money, figured out what I wanted to do in school and my grades started to improve. I was genuinely happy.

The Fall semester started. Elise Boeckman and I were in the same Digital Imaging class. Whoa boy! I was happy being single, but Elise was the girl of my dreams. I couldn’t believe we were in the same class together!

El and I recently discussed fate, soul mates and being in the right place at the right time. I think that what I’m about to tell you is a combination of all three. I soon found out that Elise was the new person who moved into the apartment right below me.

At the time, I wasn’t 100% sure that she was the one who did, in fact, move in to apartment #410. Not wanting to pass up this opportunity, I did an email directory search on the St. Edward’s mail server. I emailed Elise to remind her of who I was and to ask if she lived in the Bristol Square apartments.

A few days later, I received a response. It was her. She lived below me. For yours truly, life was taking a turn for the better.

On the same day that I received Elise’s email response, James and I were going to Radio Shack for a little cell phone service. Elise was coming home from a day at school. We passed in the parking lot. I introduced James and Elise. Without hesitation, I asked Elise if she would like to accompany me to the Tavern for drinks with some of my coworkers later that evening. She said yes.

The rest, as they say, is history. Elise showed up at the Tavern and came upstairs to find me and my coworkers. I immediately forfeited my game of pool and spent the remaining hours sitting on a bar stool in front of the Spy Hunter arcade game next to the girl of my dreams. We talked about everything that night. For some reason, I knew that when she showed up, I wasn’t going to ever let her go.

That was September 15th. We’ve been together ever since – me and the girl of my dreams. Even though we lay side by side every night, I still dream about her. Every morning I look at her and try to fathom what I did to deserve a lifetime with such a wonderful person. I have to do this carefully though, I wouldn’t want to wake her with one of my eye boogers falling and hitting her on the forehead.

Elise recently told me that I was a good provider, that she would follow me anywhere and that she just wants me to be happy. All of this was really hard to swallow. It’s a quite a reality check to hear that from the one you love – it’s also very flattering. Everything that I do, I do with El in mind. I love her so much that I don’t want her to have to ever endure any pain or worry. I know that’s impossible, but that’s one of my “no matter whats”. I want Elise to be the happiest person in the world, no matter what. She’s too beautiful to not be.

Four years with Elise have flown by and there are only days until our first wedding anniversary. I’m happy. I’ve never been more happy.

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