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Friday, October 30, 2015

We'll Always Have Newport: Chapter 8- Heatwave On The Homefront

(June 2010-September 2010)

Almost immediately upon my arrival to Newport, the Sailor and I face  our first major hurdle as a couple.
The quaint second floor apartment with its sturdy hardwood floors and elegant wainscoting transformed itself into an oven of sorts. Especially in the front rooms of the apartment.

I grew up in the humid Midwest and spent many a summer performing chores on my grandparents farm during the heat of the day.

However, one expects 100 plus degree days during the summers in Kansas. According to my research the summers in Newport, Rhode Island would  mainly consist of balmy days of no more than 85 degrees in temperature.

In the midst of this heatwave, my mind envisions sedate late afternoon picnics on the beach. The breeze softly whipping my raven colored hair around my face as we carefully set up our picnic blanket on the beach.

Daintily, I spread out the contents of the picnic basket and the skirt portion of my tea length red and white gingham print cotton sundress. A pair of matching red flip flops adorn my feet. The Sailor is wearing khaki board shorts and a short sleeved sky blue madras shirt. We gaze lovingly into each other's eyes and... the whirring of the deluxe fan which was borrowed from one of the Sailor's buddies brings me out of my heat induced reverie.

This behemoth fan is strategically placed to create cross-ventilation without taking down the wooden painting hanging up in the living room.

Whenever the monster fan setting is on high, the wooden painting begins tapping against the wall. The Sailor assures me that the wooden painting is firmly affixed to the wall and will most likely not crash down any time soon.

Our "picnics" are relegated to positioning ourselves between the monster fan and a box fan which is placed in the living room window. Typically, our "picnic" cuisine consists of sliced Vermont cheddar cheese, grapes, crackers, prosciutto, sliced cucumbers, and celery sticks. Occasionally, I am able to throw a salad together but, for the most part, it is  just too hot to consume lettuce.

My long "raven" hair rarely whips around my face in a romantic fashion. In fact, most days, I slap my hair into a loose chignon with lots of bobby pins to keep it out of my face. My tea length sun dress is hanging up in the closet.  In this heat, running shorts and  tank tops are more practical attire.  The Sailor mainly rocks T-shirts and cargo shorts.

After a couple of weeks, I feel myself start to lose it and I start researching air-conditioning units.

We do not need anything fancy. A window unit for the living room would be perfect. There is just one catch, all of the air conditioning units under $400 seem to be completely sold out in the Northeast.

How can an entire region of the country be out air conditioners under $400? 

This kind of thing does not happen on the West Coast, Southwest, or even the Midwest. I contact a few of my West Coast and Southwest friends to brainstorm ways to get us an air conditioner.

In the end, the Sailor and I decide to look for a more inexpensive way to cool the apartment.

He goes into what I affectionately call "ship mode". Ship mode consists of him assessing a situation and then taking swift and decisive action. We end purchasing another box fan which he positions in an open bedroom window which faces the neighbor's yard. He props the bedroom door open and places the monster fan at an angle in the middle of the living room. Finally, he takes the 3rd fan and places it in the living room window which faces the backyard and is next to the couch.

After a few minutes, the living room cools down considerably. This means that we will be able to retire to the bedroom before midnight.

The Sailor weighs at least 80 pounds more than I do, which means that when he moves the whole air mattress goes with him. More than a few times, find myself face planted into the hardwood floor or crashing into the wall due to his unexpectedly getting out of bed.

For some reason, this amuses me to no end and I cannot stop laughing at the absurdity of the situation and how prior to moving here , my daydreams  of Newport never involved having snack plate picnics lodged between two fans or sharing an air mattress with the Sailor.

Through this heatwave, neither one of us has even remotely been cranky. Instead, we crack jokes and swap silly childhood anecdotes which results in us breaking into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Inevitably, this merrymaking capsizes the air mattress and I go rolling into the wall again. This only serves to make us both laugh harder.

Monday, October 26, 2015

We'll Always Have Newport: Chapter 7-Reporting For Duty

My first official act as a significant other is to scare up breakfast for us.  Blueberry Pop-Tarts and two bottles of water will have to fill the bill.

I envisioned our first breakfast together to be a fresh from the oven frittata filled with chopped bacon, red onions, mushrooms, cracked black pepper, and mozzarella cheese. A thermos filled with steaming coffee for him and a cup of green tea for me. 

In my fantasy, we are holding hands across the table and lovingly gaze into one another's eyes.

 However, the reality of my first morning in Newport resembles us stiffly attempting to rise from the makeshift pallet which sits atop a beautifully crafted yet nonetheless uncomfortable hardwood floor.

In addition, the Sailor is running late for work. He jumps into the shower like he's on fire. A short time later he is dressed and in the kitchen. I wrap up the microwaved Pop-Tarts and hand him a bottle of water. He kisses me hurriedly on the mouth and he rushes out the door.

 There was no early morning puttering or idle chit chat. But, hey this is what I signed up for. 

 With the Sailor at work, I turn my attention to my job-hunting. 

Back in New Meixco, I managed to ace two phone interviews and the third face to face one is scheduled for next week. Alas, this company is located 45 minutes away in Warwick. 

For the past seven years, I have had the privilege of living less than a mile away from my job. Newport is small and I know that my chances of landing a short commute here is next to impossible.  

The most important thing is to just land a decent paycheck and let everything else fall into place.
My next objective is getting the cable and Internet turned on and making the apartment more of a home. 

The Sailor and I have agreed to hold off on major furniture purchases for at least a week or so whilst we measure the apartment and get used to the space. 

I focus on the  smaller items which will go a long way to adding homey touches. We need an air mattress, seating to watch television, food, and cookery. 

I remember that there is a Walmart and TJ Maxx located nearby and I head off in that direction. Of course, it was dark and foggy when I rolled into town. So, once again, I have to stop into a nearby gas station to get directions.

Two hours and hundreds of dollars later, I have the makings to add a bit more civility to the apartment. I am in the midst of cleaning and putting items away when the Sailor calls to check in.

“How is everything?”

“Things are great,” I give him a brief overview of the morning’s highlights.

“Good. I am glad that you are settling in. So, I want to take you lunch today,”

“Okay. What time?” I ask glancing about furtively to the multiple items which still need to be put away.

“I’ll swing by in about 45 minutes,” He replies.

I gulp inwardly. My  crazy wavy hair is still adjusting to the humidity and my clothes need to be ironed. I do not have an ironing board at all. I am tempted to call him back to postpone but, I remember the whole gotta roll with the punches/be flexible/life in the military mantra.

“Sounds good,” I chirp weakly.

I take another shower because the temperature is at least 95 degrees and the cross breeze is non-existent on the 2nd floor.

I grab a cute red tank top that doesn’t need ironing, a knee-length black skirt, and cute flip flops that will totally work for a casual lunch. 

My hair is a bit more of a challenge but, I let it do its thing and it works. It falls in waves and somewhat frizzy curls to top of my chest.

Makeup is a bit of lip gloss and a slathering of sun screen.  

On cue, the Sailor rings the doorbell and I head down the stairs to answer it. He leans in for a kiss. A real one this time. Then, he takes my hand and leads me to his car.

We dine at a cute Mediterranean cafĂ©. Of course, we run into some the Sailor’s buddies and I have fun listening to their stories and we promise to have them over to the apartment sometime in the future.

All too quickly it is time for the Sailor to return back to work. He drops me off and then reminds me that he has class tonight until around 9:30 pm.

I am relieved because this will give me the opportunity to set the house up some more. I want to surprise him when he comes home this evening.

A majority of the boxes and other purchases are put away. The only thing to do is put together the air mattress and I discover that that I forgot to buy batteries for the pump. I send a quick text to the Sailor asking that he stop by the store and buy a pack of Double Batteries and hope that he received it.

I shudder to think about what another night of sleeping on the hardwood floor will do to my body. My phone vibrates and the Sailor has responded to my text with the phrase “Rog that,”.

How can it be possible that I am over the moon excited at the prospect of sleeping on an air mattress?

When the Sailor comes home he immediately opens the pack of batteries and slips them into the air pump. The air mattress is out of the box and lying on the bedroom floor.

The apartment is clean and things are put away. I pull out a plate of  deli turkey, chopped cucumbers and a few slices of Vermont Cheese from the refrigerator onto the dining room table. The Sailor comes out of the bedroom with a triumphant look upon his face.

He stops short when he sees the food and then he looks around to take in the more homey touches of the apartment. His face breaks out into a grin and he sweeps me into his arms for a dramatic embrace.

“I take it this means that you are hungry?” I ask.

“Starving.” He replies as he leans down for a kiss.

In this moment as his lips brush against mine, I make an important realization.

No matter how hectic my day has been, my primary role as a military significant other is to make sure that the home front runs in an orderly and peaceful fashion. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

We'll Always Have Newport-Chapter 6: Pulling Into Port

I am driving into a sea of fog. I can barely see on either side of my car.  It is a cold and rainy June evening. The temperature 50 degrees outside.
Thankfully, traffic on the Pell Bridge is relatively light. This blanket of fog ominously first made its presence known to me three hours ago when I first arrived into Bridgeport, Connecticut.

I have spent the past few hours with a death grip on my steering wheel. My 1996 low-mileage Buick is handling these adverse conditions like a champ. She has driven through the mountains and deserts of both California and New Mexico. She has battled snow, heavy rains, and even a drought or two. I have the utmost confidence in her.

 Throughout Connecticut I deal  with crazy drivers and most of them sport  Massachusetts license plates. When I relay this to my friends and family in Boston, no one seems shocked.

 In fact,there is a word for these types of drivers. They are (un)affectionately referred to as “Massholes”.
My phone vibrates and I click on my headset. 

A booming baritone voice with a slight New Jersey accent comes on the line.

“Babe, where are you?”

It is the Sailor.

“I just got on the Pell Bridge," I say.

“You’re close. I was getting worried about you. It’s super foggy out there,” He declares.

Who you tellin’?

“I am excited to see you,” I reply.

I struggle to stay focused but, hearing his deep baritone voice has me more than a bit distracted.
I spend the next 20 minutes precariously navigating myself off of the Pell Bridge and into the city of Newport. 

A mile or so off of the bridge is a small gas station. Thanks to some prior research on my part, I discover that Newport, RI is not what one would consider to be a 24-hour type of town. Most stores are closed by 11 p.m., which means that I need to stock up on food and some sundry items or risk having to wait until tomorrow morning.

According to the clerk, I am only about five blocks away from my destination.
Another 15 minutes passes and I pull up into the driveway of my new residence. I punch the Sailor’s number into my cell phone. He answers on the first ring.

"I made it," I announce.

"Okay, babe. I will see you in about 30 minutes."

I am a little over two hours late to meet my landlord, Carmine. He is WWII vet with an olive complexion and a slight build. I apologize profusely for being late.
"The fog will delay anyone. Glad that you made it here safely," Carmine says as he shakes my hand.
The apartment is above his house. There is both a back entrance and a side one.

I have seen the photos on the listing but, nothing prepares me for its quaintness. 

Due to the lateness of the hour, we are going through the side entrance. Carmine offers to help me but, I politely decline. I push two boxes of the books which I had sent a couple of weeks ago to the side. The living room is small with hardwood floors and two windows. One of the windows overlooks the guesthouse out back and the other one looks out onto the driveway.

There is no light fixture in the front room. I make a mental note to buy lamps. The dining room is small. There is a window which overlooks the neighbor’s yard. The refrigerator is located in the dining room. The kitchen is surprisingly spacious. It leads to the back staircase and the main way in which I will be entering and leaving the apartment.

The bathroom is small but, the water pressure is decent. The floor is straight from a 1980's decorator's dream. Black and white tile with coordinating backsplash. There is a small towel pantry on the side and a deep medicine cabinet complete with mirror over the sink.

I walk into the master bedroom and notice something that horrifies me....there is no closet. I think of the racks of clothing that are in my car. Where will I put them?

My eyes sweep over the two windows in the master bedroom. One overlooks the street below and the other has a view of the neighbor's front yard.

I rush over to the second bedroom and see that there is indeed a closet in there which is a bit on the small side, but it is better than nothing. There is one window which faces the street. A large sedan pulls up and I assume that it is the Sailor. My phone vibrates from my jacket pocket.

"Babe, I am here.”

I smooth my hair and try to walk on steady legs down the staircase to the side entrance. He bounds up the stairs to meet me and we stare into each other's eyes for a few moments. Instinctively, we reach out and our fingers touch. He pulls me into his arms for a quick kiss.

Then, the military part of him kicks in and he starts with the business of getting my car unpacked. I decide to only clear out the items in the front and back seat. The stuff in the trunk is hidden from view.

30 minutes later, my car with the exception of the trunk is unpacked. The curtains are up in the living room and bedrooms. The folding table and chair dining has been set up. The meager gas station groceries have been put stashed away.

All I want to do is fall into bed...except I do not have one.  Several months ago, I donated my air mattress to a displaced college student back in Santa Fe.
I gather all of the bedding and create a pallet on the floor. My cute driving sundress has been replaced with yoga pants and a long sleeved T-shirt. It is still surprisingly chilly for June and sleeping on the floor is probably not going to result in me warming up anytime soon.

I am 36 years old and I no longer own a bed of any kind. For some strange reason, this makes me burst out laughing.

The Sailor gives me a quizzical look and I explain the source of my laughter.
“Babe, welcome to military life. Sometimes, you reach your duty station a couple of days before your furniture,” He says with a chuckle.

When you first arrive to the duty station as a civilian, you will learn the importance of going with the flow…which generally is directed by the military.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

We'll Always Have Newport: Chapter 5-Telling The World...

“Wait, you mean that you are just going to pack up and move cross-country to a place sight unseen because you fell in love with a dude in the Navy?”

I respond to her query with a smile.


She exchanges a look with her husband and he shrugs.

“If it doesn’t work out. You can always move back.”

He proceeds to add a bit more red wine to my partially filled glass.

Diane and Doug are a little older than me and have been married approximately…forever.

They raise a toast to my impetuosity and we all take a sip of wine. This will be my final glass of the evening because I still have a lot of packing and purging  yet to do.

I made this decision roughly six weeks ago and life has become a seemingly neverending series of phone calls, emails, and paperwork.  I have secured an apartment in Newport, RI and I have been doing phone interviews with potential employers. I am also in the process of training my replacement.

My 4 hour phone marathons with the Sailor keep me sane and grounded. We have plans to be married the following year. More than likely, it will be a small wedding with just a few local folks and then a huge reception later on down the line.

Needless to say, no one in my family is pleased about this but, they know better than to argue with me.

Besides, I am taking all of the precautions. We are waiting to get married and the apartment and during the first year both the apartment and utilities will start out in my name. I have a cousin and some friends from college living in nearby Boston. I am ready to embrace my New England destiny.

My move date is  less than a month away. It is hard to believe that I am going to once again be strolling the beach and snapping photos of docks. I can almost taste the fresh seafood. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

We'll Always Have Newport:Chapter 4-Gimme, Gimme Affordable Shelter In A Fashionable Neighborhood!

(March 2010)
I am looking for a good neighborhood close to the Naval base and downtown Newport. The Sailor has sent me information and I submit possible addresses for his input.
During one of our conversations, we brainstorm on the perfect apartment.
We agree that the ideal apartment is close to  both the Naval base and downtown Newport. It has 2 bedrooms, it's located on the 2nd floor, no more than $1,000 a month.  
On the face it, the procurement of this apartment does not seem like it will be too challenging.  However,  I fail to fully grasp that Newport is a popular resort location from about May through early October. In addition, people come from all of the world to work as servers, bartenders,  housekeepers, nannies, and groundskeepers.
Basically, I am  competing with a whole bunch of unseen people whom are familiar with  the real estate and rental market of Newport, RI.
 The first thing that hits me is how much more expensive everything seems to be up there. Santa Fe, NM is not exactly the inexpensive capital of the world and yet...Newport  still seems ridiculously over-priced in comparison.

My quaint one bedroom casita  in Santa Fe is a steal at $635 a month.

A similar guest house rents for $1,300 in Newport. This is not even taking into consideration the fact that food, gas, and other common items are twice as much in Newport than they are here in the Painted Desert.

Yet, relocating to Newport is still cheaper than attending law school. As the rejection letters pour in, I begin making phone calls to realtors and potential landlords from listings gleaned off of Craigslist and other real estate websites.

Either the places are over priced or they don’t have any openings until September . Law school rejection letters aside, I am more than likely going to relocate to Newport in June which of course is the height of the tourist season.

One of the realtors warns me that I am probably looking at paying at least $1,200 a month for a decent place near downtown.

Never mind, trying to get the two bedroom upstairs apartment which is on our wishlist.

However, I surmise that securing an apartment in Rhode Island, might be the best way in which for me to get a job. I have at least 6 months worth of expenses saved up.

I spend 18 hours out of the day, either working the phones and/or pounding the virtual pavement in search of this seemingly  impossible criteria.

Fortunately, Santa Fe is 2 time zones behind Newport. This enables me to work the phones and email for a couple of hours before work each morning. I am signed up for at least 5 different apartment listing services. My lunch breaks have become a near satire of "Let's Make Deal" the rental market edition.

After 2 months of heavy phone work, I hit pay dirt. A two bedroom apartment located on the second floor for $700 a month. Heating is paid, a decent amount of street parking and within walking distance of downtown Newport.

I can totally afford to live in the place without stressing out about bills. Immediately, I dial the realtor. She is a middle aged lady with a lot of moxie and one heck of a New England accent.

We exchange a few pleasantries before she dives right in.

“So, do you have a job lined up in Newport?”

I pause for a moment. I wasn’t expecting her to cut to the chase so quickly.

“Currently, I am employed as a contracts administrator for an IT reseller,” I say.

Perhaps, a little deflection may help my case.

“Okay, hon. But, do you have a job lined up in Newport?”

So much for my Midwestern charm offensive.

“No. But, I was able to land a job in Los Angeles in 33 days, I was able to secure employment in Santa Fe, NM back during the summer of 2008. Is Newport a concrete jungle of sorts?”

I hear a faint chuckle on the other end of the line. My heart soared a few inches off of the ground.

“Not exactly. But, the economy here  in Rhode Island isn’t that great. Why are you moving here anyway?”

I debate on whether to confide in her about my relationship with the Sailor. At the last moment, I decide against it. Instead, I tell her about my secondary reasoning for leaving the Painted Desert.

“I have always wanted to live on the East Coast. My cousin lives in Boston but, it’s so expensive there. I am a small town girl at heart. So, Newport seems to be more of a fit for me.”

“What is it that you do again?”

“I am a  contracts administrator.” I reply.

A brief silence. I could hear the gears in her mind working.

“Tell you what..I am going to run a credit check on you and I’ll also need 3 character references.”

“Sounds fair,” I reply.

I email her all of the requisite information and continue my apartment hunting. My extensive background in relocation has trained me to always keep moving. If this place didn’t pan out, I am certain that something better would come along.  

The following day, the realtor leaves me a voicemail with instructions to call her ASAP. I speak with her on the phone and am taken aback by the excitement in her voice.

“Okay, so I talked to your references and I have to say that in my time as a realtor, I have never heard such glowing reviews. Plus, you have great credit.  So, if you want the place, it’s yours.”

I breathe a sigh of relief.  We  spend a few more minutes ironing out the details of when I should expect the lease to arrive in the mail.

After, the phone call ends, I immediately call the Sailor to tell him the good news.

“What does this mean for your law school plans?” He asks quietly.

So far, I have received 10 rejections out of the 13 schools to which I have applied.

It’s a pretty safe bet that I am not getting back into law school.

“You never know,” He counters.

“It’s not looking good,” I say.

“Are you alright with that?” He asks.

“Yes.” I reply.

I honestly am more excited about taking on the exciting adventure of Newport and life with the Sailor than getting a law degree.

“I love you.” He says.

“I love you, too and I can’t wait to be in Newport.” I reply.

I have less than a month before I leave  Santa Fe. I need to say my goodbyes  and wrap up all the necessary loose ends  

My family will be here in a few weeks to help me move my furniture back to Kansas.

As the moving date gets closer, my anxiety level goes through the roof.

What if this is a ridiculously endeavor after all? What if the Sailor and I don’t work out? I could end up stuck in Newport without a support network.

Worse yet, I would be another statistic in the game of long distance love.

I do a quick risk utility and surmise that my lease is only a year and at $700 a month it is practically a steal. Also, I have been  phone interviewing for a contracts administrator job in Warwick, RI which pays a little more than what I am currently making. The interviewers seem impressed with my past work history and are starting the process of reference checks.

All there is left to do is meet them face to face for the final interview.

It looks like I am well on my way to starting my new life in the Enchanted Seaport.

Monday, October 12, 2015

We Will Always Have Newport- Chapter 3: A Bi-Coastal Courtship Filled With Crappy Stories and Lots Of Research

(November 2009-January 2010)

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that he lives on the other side of the country. He feels so close to me. We talk on the phone every other day for hours at a time. He tells me about life in the Navy and shares a crappy story or two with me.  Crappy stories consist of anecdotes about  the monotony of patrolling the waters around the base and the personality quirks of some of his  fellow Sailors. I have taken to listening to podcasts tailored towards military spouses. I am also reading blogs by military spouses. It is definitely a different world from what I am accustomed to. Sure, my cousins were in different branches of the military but, it’s different when it is a spouse or significant other.
I don’t want to even imagine what it will be like to worry about his ship being in hostile waters. Which because he will be on shore duty for the next few years. Perhaps, I am jumping the gun with all of this silly worry anyway. He is inquiring about my views on marriage and kids. It seems awfully soon to be asking such questions but, I find out from both my female and male friends whom are military vets that this is common. Due, to the nature of the military the courtship phase is sometime almost non-existent especially since anything could happen with orders and assignments.

Having a significant other in military is akin to being on a tilt a whirl of emotions. Every negative news story about the military makes you irritated and the positive ones make you cheer. The Sailor has warned me that the lifestyle of a milispouse it not an easy one. As a milispouse you are responsible for making  the home of your soldier, sailor, airmen, coastie and/or marine a safe haven from the outside world. You become  a guardian of sorts to their physical and mental well-being.
At age 35, this was not a scary concept to me. But, I could only imagine what someone 10 or 15 years younger would be going through. You are trying to figure out yourself and then give support to someone else. Fireworks and not the good kind are bound to ensue.
There times in which the Sailor gets a little maudlin when he talks about the colleagues he’s lost or how sometimes the military can set you up for a life of isolation. I have learned whenever he gets into these moods not to try to pull him out of them right away. I have learned that these moods only last for about 30 minutes or so. Then, I change the subject to ask him about how the weather is faring in Newport.
Then, he inquires about Santa Fe and just like that the mood lightens. I text him trivia about the Navy. I can almost picture him smiling at his phone and my excitement about learning about his world.  A few weeks into it, he has asked me about my future plans. Did I see marriage and children in my future?
Would I be able to handle being a military spouse and the constant  relocation and long periods spent away from one another?
Sure. I reply. I am thinking back to my own history of frequent relocations and my own active lifestyle which most of my previous boyfriends couldn’t deal with. 
Something in me begins to stir. I am beginning to see that these are not casual questions. So, I ask him about his future plans. Does he want to remarry and have more children?
“Yes.” He replies.
I change the subject quickly to something else and he brings it right back up again.
It feels too soon to even consider a future together, But, I surmise that military relationships, coupled with our 30 something ages means that things are accelerated. Still, I want to get to know him before I commit to completely changing my life around.

Friday, October 9, 2015

We'll Always Have Newport:Chapter 2-A Smidgeon of Reality

(November 2009-December 2009)

During the first month of my long distance courtship with the Sailor, I am unable to concentrate on anything except for our next contact point. This is not the typical Type A Lainie behavior. I am the one whom has four burners going at full flame plus, something baking in the oven. Yet, here I am unable to organize my law school applications.

 8 years ago, I was enrolled in law school, During this time, both my parents were struggling with illness and I am trying to help my 21 year old sister get her act together. 

 Though, my efforts were valiant…alas, they were not enough to keep me afloat academically.

 After I left law school, I became obsessed on how I was going to return.

Looking back, I can’t believe how I lost so many years  being caught up in the trap of believing that becoming an attorney was the only way for me to be happy.
Fast forward to the present time, I have only completed 2 out of the 13 law school applications and now it’s December.

Perhaps, my inaction is due to the fact that I now can, see a different future for myself. In my alternate future, I am married with kids and writing cookbooks in my spare time.

If I am honest with myself, this is the future which I always wanted. But, for some reason this never seemed like a viable option for a Type A woman such as myself.

The Sailor is pressuring me to complete my law school applications.

“I am not going to stand in the way of your dreams,” He declares solemnly

“But, I don’t even know if this even my dream anymore. I feel like I am turning to law school because I don’t know what else to do with myself,” I reply.

He is silent on the other end of the phone.

“I would just feel better, if applied to the law schools on your list. If you don’t get in fine. But, you have to at least try. Ok?”

Curse his pragmatic nobility,  I want  him to tell me to let go of the old law school dream and move to Newport.

However, he isn’t going to do that and it irritates me but, at the same time I kind of admire  him for it.

Still, in the midst of my law school applications, I have managed to carve out time to research more about Newport, RI.

Newport was founded during the 1600’s and its history rich with people exercising their rights for religious freedom. Most notably Anne Hutchinson, whom was kicked out of Boston due to her challenging the principles of Puritanism.

At one time during the 1700’s, Newport was one of the major port cities in the 13 colonies. Later on it turn into a summer retreat for the wealthy and their servants. Eventually, the Navy set up shop  in Newport and its surrounding towns.  

The Sailor sends me photos of the Newport landscape a few times a week.  I  envision Newport as this lively mix of historical monuments, great displays of wealth and a strong military presence.

I am  instantly attracted to Newport's quirky identity.

Now, that I have gleaned a sense of this Enchanted Seaport it’s time to get down to the business of how I can transport myself there.

After  researching  the job market in Rhode Island, I discover much to my dismay  that it has one of the highest levels of unemployment in the nation.  I gulp inwardly and  experience a rush of panic at the thought of moving to a place sight unseen.

Could I actually move to a region of the country which I have never even visited and find both a job and an affordable apartment in a decent neighborhood?

 I am the self-proclaimed Queen of Relocation. In the past,  I have conquered larger cities  than Newport, RI. But, that was before the Great Recession which is currently affecting many regions across the USA.

In addition, I have relocated to a state sight unseen.

Admittedly, my biggest fear is  moving to Rhode Island and running out of money before I am able to find a job.  The last thing that I wanted to do is  relocate to Rhode Island and become a financial burden on the Sailor.

Each time, I mention my fears the Sailor gently reminds me that  my main focus is supposed to be on law school. Presently, I have only received 3 responses (all rejections) from the schools in which I had applied.  I still have 10 more applications to hear back from.  April should provide me with more information as to where I am going to reside.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that I end up in Newport, RI. I have fallen in love with the photos which the Sailor sends as well as the cranky posters on the city forum there.

The prospect of going back to law school doesn’t seem as exciting as moving to a town sight unseen  and spending time with the Sailor.

Monday, October 5, 2015

We'll Always Have Newport: Chapter 1- Reunited and It Feels So...Unexpected

His  Facebook friend request arrives out of the blue. In fact, it takes me a moment to recall exactly who he is. I click on his photo and it reveals an older version of the tatted up skateboarder whom I had  known all those years ago.

A cursory glance at his profile conveys that the former punk rocker has traded in his skateboard for a successful career in the Navy. 

 I think back on my own path since college and shake my head in amazement.  Since graduating from college, I have worked as a singer, administrative assistant, paralegal, contract administrator, and as a part-time restaurant host. I know all too well the way in which life can take you down unexpected alleyways.

Almost immediately after accepting his friend request, he sends over an introductory email which
sparks off a flurry of emails between us which culminates in the exchange of telephone numbers. 

I have recently extricated myself from what can best be described as an unhealthy situation. I am ready to take my life into a different direction. A light long distance flirtation seemed to be just the thing to kick off a celebration of my new life.

We spend the next couple of weeks texting up a storm. Each morning around 5 am Mountain Time     he greets me with a Good Morning text. I am an early riser and so I don’t find it strange to be cooking and cleaning  and trading texts with him. My co-workers  notice a significant change in my disposition. Not, that I am a particularly sullen person but, my overall mood has definitely improved.

 He feels so close to me and sometimes I have to remind myself that he is on the other side of the country. Especially, since we talk on the phone every other day for hours at a time.  

A thousand miles and a 2 hour time difference separate us,we never seem to run out of things to say to one another.  We spend the first couple of weeks getting up to speed on each other's lives.

During the day,  I text him trivia about the Navy. Of course, I am not telling him anything that he doesn’t already know about the Navy. I am just so geeked up about learning new things.

 I envision him smirking at my awkward attempts to show off my new found knowledge about the Navy.  A few weeks into  our virtual courtship, he  asks me about my future plans.

“Do you see marriage and children in your future plans?”

“Yes,” I reply without hesitation.

“Do you think that you could handle being a military spouse and the constant relocation plus the long separations?”

“Yes,” I say again without a trace of hesitation.

I hear him take a huge breath over the phone.

I feel as though things between us are rocketing  too quickly but, isn’t that how life goes sometimes?

Especially, when one is dating over the age of 35. At this age, you get a feel for what you want in a relationship. For me, I was looking for a man whom would appreciate the fact that I love to travel and yet, I also love to be surrounded by family and friends.

Alas, this has turned out to be more challenging than I had ever imagined.

In fact, before the Sailor came along, I was researching life as a single mother by choice.

 I had planned on going to a sperm bank and if for some reason, I was unable to carry a child, then I would adopt two siblings.

However, life is flipping the script on me,  and now  I am smack dab in a long distance courtship with the Sailor which seems to grow stronger by the day.

to be continued...

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