Today is a big day in the life of me. On this day 10 years ago, on a Friday the 13th, Shane and I decided to make it official and tied the knot. For those of you who know me well, you probably already know how we began, and for those of you who don't, I'm sure we are not important enough to be a topic of gossip (thank goodness), so let me entertain you a bit. I am going to go out on a limb and assume that this won't make one of those sweet articles that pop up on your Facebook that you read and get all teary eyed. I'm typically not that type of writer. My main goal in my posts is to be real and entertain you at the same time. I want you to read my crazy memoirs and think "damn, what a life". With that said, I think I'll start at the beginning. I hadn't really been single all that long. I was divorced in April (almost as important a date as my marriage to Shane), and I was surfing around on Myspace about 9 months later when I came across Shane. He looked quite familiar, and Myspace said we may know each other, so who am I to balk in the face of social media predictions. I took their advice and I sent him a friend request which he promptly responded to, and BAM! Shane and I are friends. I found out through chatting that we really didn't know each other, and Myspace wasn't providing any predictions at all but instead just glittery pages with scrolling pictures and your very own intro song which for Shane was something by Johnny Cash. We only went to school together for about a year or so, and even though he looked familiar, we didn't run around with the same crowd. He seemed like a nice guy, and since he lived and worked in Nashville at the time, we set up a date to meet up and have a drink. I stood him up. It seemed like that thing to do because after being divorced, I kinda felt sorry for any poor sonofabitch that decided to go out with me, and he would have to endure a little punishment with a healthy game of cat and mouse. He was forgiving. I suppose we continued to chat for a couple of weeks after that. Those memories seem fuzzy for me, but rest assured, the entertainment is soon to come and THAT part isn't at all fuzzy at all. Shane's mom is from here (a saint of sorts), and because he probably knew I was flakey by then, he decided to set up a date for us to go out when he would be visiting in my neck of the woods. Well, he showed up to pick me up. Keep in mind, I am 29 years old and have just been launched back into the "failure to launch" phase, as a newly divorced woman with a child who is living with my parents. Don't be jealous. We opted for a really classy joint to sit down have a drink or five and maybe play a game or two of pool. The Garage. This local establishment is a town bar where you could literally smell smoke before walking in the door, and hear quite literally the worse karaoke on the planet. I learned a lot about Shaney on that date. I was quietly going down my list of must haves and checking each and every one as we came to them. A man with a skilled trade of some sort? Check! Manners? Check! Picks up the tab despite my ability to drink him under the table? CHECK! Good tipper? Check! This must be a man after my heart. I never considered the fact that we were in a smokey bar for my our first date, but hey...priorities first. Our conversation continues and we are laughing and having a great time and after hearing him say something that was clearly charming, I say "Shane Long!" He pulls his face a little sideways and replies "Umm, that's not my name". Ok, we have clearly hit a first date snag. Being the very observant individual I am, for some reason, his last name escaped me and while his photo on Myspace looked familiar to me, clearly the name didn't fit. All evening I had my future husband's face in my mind but someone else's name attached. It takes a lot to embarrass me, which is a good thing considering I have a righteous knack for being a complete toolbag without actually meaning to. I look at him and simply said "well what the hell is it"? It was then that I realized that if this thing panned out, I would not be Mrs. Long, but Mrs. Rickman instead. Seemed legit considering that while the name Shane Long was a name I recognized from my high school career, I neither knew him nor his face, and this particular Shane was starting to grow on me already with his amazing beard and super sexy overbite. After a long night of chit chat, booze and some smooching, the future daddy to the roots delivered me safely home and we decided to go out the following night as well. I laid my head down on the pillow that night and I had so many thoughts swirling in my head, along with lots and lots of Coors Light. This could possibly be the man of my dreams. He's super sweet, mannerly, never made me get up from my seat all night if I didn't want to, and is a fantastic kisser. So many swirly swirly thoughts...no wait, that was the Coors Light. Then I puked. The next day we spoke and decided that bowling would be our next date. I was glad he was planning things because I certainly didn't want to, and I'm not hard to please in that regard. Off we go to the local bowling alley where I watched Shaney bowl and thought "what in the actual fuck is he doing". I have never seen someone not put their fingers in the holes, but he was kicking my butt, so I figured it must be some new-age redneck approach straight out of Elkmont Alabama that I wasn't aware of. We bowled a couple of games and of course, he won, and me being the sore loser I am, we decided to call it a night. Walking out the door, Shane expressed his interest in seeing that old historical and then dilapidated shack just South of the town square. It has since been updated and fully restored to a beautiful events hall or something of that nature, but not beautiful enough for me to recall the name however, anyone local will know which one I'm speaking of. Maybe the name will come to me by the end of this post, and if not, I know my good friend Roberta will help me out. Off we go. This is where the story of us gets funny or at least to me. As we enter the round square, we come to a stop sign. This is the one stop sign in town that seems to be a stop sign that you stop at only if you feel like it. I've witnessed people never slow down or stop, but mostly just glide on by if nothing is coming, and because it was almost midnight at this point, it was most definitely a glide situation. Not long after the glide heard round the world, it happened. Blue lights. Now, after seeing many a person pass through with no repercussions and now seeing blue lights pulling us over with no one else on the road at the time, this is retrospect shows us just the type of luck I decided to not part with until one of us croaks, but try telling the future Mrs. Rickman that when I was already wrapped up in the kisses and good conversation. We pull over and the police officer was kind enough to politely ask for Shane's drivers license. I sit there and he never skips a beat, just talking to me and both of us laughing about the fact that he has been pulled over on our second date. The laughing pretty much ceased (for the moment anyway) when the officer politely asks us to step out of the vehicle, and I notice that a couple of other police officer's had come on the scene. What in the hell was going on here? Are we in some sort of danger? Or even worse, has my possible "future" turned out to be a seriel killer? We were separated at that point and I noticed that the officer and his trusty sidearm had decided to search throughout the truck. I stood there for about 15 minutes and the entire time, I'm thinking "I have to pee". After about another 15 minutes and a very kind escort by the police officer to go and squat behind a building, and I came back only to see my date being loaded into the paddy wagon. This was the point that I realized that someone was in trouble here. Shane had inadvertently left a smoking device underneath the seat of his vehicle that I refer to as a "one hitter". I was a bit confused at the time because first of all, I didn't take him for a pot smoker, and secondly I was also wondering why he didn't offer to share. I later informed by the police officer that it was just the one hitter and a bit of residue with no actual good stuff left. In my mind, I am thinking now. Is this the man of my dreams after all? Not only has he not got the sense enough to leave his paraphernalia at home, but this asshole could possibly be a self-centered pot hoarder. No time for those thoughts now though, because I have to figure out a way to get home. I was so frazzled that I literally couldn't think of a phone number of any close friends to call for a ride. I had literally never been in trouble before, and even though I wasn't the one in trouble now, I was nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Shane in the meantime is resting in the back of the cruiser and the same police officer says he doesn't mind at all to give me a ride home on his way to take Shane to the poke. It's either that, or I walk, and cardio isn't exactly my strong suit, so I opt for a police car ride, all the while I can hear Shane behind the plexiglass in a muffled voice saying "Jessica I am so sorry!" "Of course you are," I thought. You are, after all, the best kisser ever and quite possibly the man of my dreams. Let's go back to the fact that I am living with my folks, and after marrying what may have been the biggest loser on the planet, my mom is pretty convinced that I'm an asshole magnet, and on top of that, she is a night owl. I'm not kidding you when I tell you that I had the officer drop me off at the end of the street, and walked 5 houses up to my parent's house. As previosuly stated, I am 29 years old at that point in my life, and I am sneaking up to the door and walking right on in like nothing was wrong and there my mother was, in her chair watching a little tv. She kindly asked how my date was and I replied "great"! She smiled, lit a cigarette and I went to bed, Shane, on the other hand, went to jail and later bonded out and gave me a ring to tell me he was home. We spoke for a few minutes before I had to go and get some sleep. This ladies and gentleman is the story of how we began. A few weeks later, I met his family for a lovely Christmas dinner and he met mine. Four months after that, we moved in together in a crappy little house on Fall River Road and called it home for a while. Three months after that on Friday, July the 13th, we were married, and three months after that we found out that we were expecting our second child. I say second because this man of my dreams has always said that my first born child is also his first born though she was 11 when we married. We have been married 10 years today, and I still think he is the best kisser ever and the best wingman a girl could ask for. We've grown up a lot since then, and expanded our roots even further. We said a few days after the rolling stop that one day we would laugh about it, and we were right for sure. Not a year goes by that we don't remember and laugh about the series of unfortunate events that let the most fortunate thing to happen in my life. Our marriage. Oh! The Garrett House...That was where we were going to see.