Archive for May, 2011
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Bad food

Every so often, I’d get an email or a text message from Ailish. It would go something like this:

“I ate some yogurt. It expired yesterday. Make sure you tell the doctor if I get sick!”

I never quite figured out why Ailish would occasionally eat food that had expired. Did she only realise after she finished eating it? Probably not; she thought my concern about expiry dates was a bit excessive. I tend to throw out milk a day or two before its best-before date, while she thought of the date as more a sort of marketing suggestion.

Today, I ate some shepherd’s pie that expired on April 29th. I had kept it in the deep freeze and only put it back in the fridge on Sunday.

First Date

This is the story of our first date, and how I almost screwed it up.

Ailish and I found each other through eHarmony. Neither of us had met up with anyone from eHarmony before.

Our first date was essentially blind. We had been exchanging emails back and forth for a little over a week, and had shared pictures of each other. But first dates are tough at the best of times, and blind first dates are particularly scary. So, Ailish and I had discussed some ground rules.

I would pay for the date. Though I generally think dates should be ‘dutch‘, I think the first date is an exception. We would be meeting up for dinner and desert, but nothing more than that. Once the meal was over, we’d go our separate ways. We’d not discuss the possibility of a second date, no matter how well the evening went. Instead, we would wait, and talk over email. No pressure, no awkward conversation at the end of the night.

At least, that’s how I remember it. Ailish insists we never had that conversation.

So, we met up at Matahari, just off of Jasper Avenue in Edmonton. Ailish had just said goodbye to her brother, Brian, who left on an exchange program to France, and I had just had my car broken into. It gave us something to talk about, at least. Actually, we didn’t stop talking. The date went extremely well, certainly the best first date I had ever had. A fascinating, intelligent woman, easy conversation, and she even liked Thai food and fried bananas.

Eventually, we had finished our desserts and I had paid the bill. But we were still talking. We were getting looks of impatience from our waitress, and eventually received a polite suggestion that we move along to make room for other patrons. So we did, but our conversation continued.

Right until we got outside. At which point, well, we were done. The evening was over. No going out for coffee. No discussions of a second date. No. We had discussed this, and agreed. So, I thanked Ailish for the date, and said goodbye.

But… well… only one of us thought that was how the evening was going to end. So, here’s me, thinking the date had been really successful; I definitely wanted a second date. And here’s Ailish, very confused, wondering if perhaps I was just being polite, right until the end where I abruptly stormed off, pretty much in the middle of the date, with no indication that I ever wanted to talk to her again.

The look of hurt and confusion on Ailish’s face finally clicked about half way home. I had monumentally screwed up.

Dating “rules” say you should wait two days to call after a first date. Or is it three? I waited twenty minutes. As soon as I arrived home, I wrote an email apologising, and thanking her for a wonderful evening. Even though we had agreed that the date would end when we were done at Matahari, perhaps I should have invited her for coffee anyway. And I definitely wanted a second date, if she’d oblige.

Ailish took a scenic route home so by the time she checked her email, my message was waiting for her. She quickly agreed to a second date.

Three years later, I discovered she didn’t actually like the fried bananas, she was just being polite. She always claimed we never had any arrangement for our first date, and I had just invented the whole thing. She did keep on agreeing to more dates, though, even after we moved in together. Even after we were married. They were always the highlight of my week.

Tribute to Ailish from Christopher

There are so many things I want to tell you about Ailish. I want to tell you the story of our first date, and how I almost screwed it up. I want to tell you about playing You Don’t Know Jack. I want to tell you about Swedish Berries, about Settlers of Catan, about West Wing or Boston Legal. I want to tell you how she was the most patient person I knew, and the least patient person I knew. How angry she was that McDonalds didn’t deliver. How much she enjoyed bacon. The nose beeping game, the squishy nose game (which she always won). Hippos. NAPS! She loved naps.

If I had a lifetime, I couldn’t tell you enough about Ailish.

So instead, I’m going to tell you about Friday night dates.

About six months into our relationship, Ailish decreed we needed to spend more time together. I hated going out during the week, because then I’d be all tired and grumpy for work the next day. And on the weekends, we used to watch t.v. or just generally be boring.

So Ailish established Friday night date night. Date nights had these rules:

  • They could only involve Ailish and me;
  • They had to be in a pub;
  • They had to be at least two hours long;
  • They had to result in beer as soon as humanly possible after work.

So, every week, we went on a date. We talked about work. We talked about friends and family. I explained binary search trees to Ailish, she tried to teach me about accounting. We discussed politics, vacations, beer, hockey, naps, “our relationship”, or what constitutes a complete meal. We talked about everything. And date night was always longer than two hours.

It did not matter how many hours Ailish worked. It did not matter when she started her CMA (accounting) classes. It didn’t matter if my mother had flown in from England to visit. Friday night was sacred.

I don’t know how Ailish could juggle her life. But she always, always kept time for me. Friday nights were everything. Sure, every other day was wonderful. But Friday nights were everything.

In my wedding vows, I told Ailish that every day was better with her in it. Ailish O’Connor, you are my partner and the love of my life. Every minute I spent with you was special and I miss you so much.