Chapter 10: The Neek is a Wizard

Our one month anniversary came and went, and before we knew it, it was Halloween!

Actual Halloween was on Thursday, and I worked, but both Christy and I surprisingly had Friday night free from work!

So, what to do, what to do…. Christy convinced me to go dancing!

Following our now standard tradition, we incorporated 2 “firsts” into my “List of Firsts” that night!

1. Sweet by Miss Holly

That’s right, following our tasty Panda Express dinner (one of my favorites), Christy and I headed across the street to Sweet, a delicious little cupcake store infamous for it’s sweet cupcakes. Let me tel you… yum. It’s all about the coconut for me, though Christy can’t get enough of the “Black and Gold” or “Chocolate Mousse.”

2. Swing Dancing

One of UCF’s clubs, the Swing Knights, hosts a weekly swing dance at a nearby location for $5, or $6 if you want to attend a 30 minute lesson beforehand. We definitely did the lesson. Christy has been here loads of times, but seeing as it was a first for me, I need some instruction! Being Halloween weekend, the dance was, of course, Halloween themed, with a costume contest! I donned my robe and wand for a while and my dear sweet Christy spent the night as a zombie.

In case you are wondering, I did NOT participate in the costume contest! No thank you! There were some great ones though, and several Doctors + companions made appearances much to Christy’s great delight.

Two new firsts! Woohoo!!!

To celebrate, we of course topped off our now hungrier stomachs at Lazy Moon where one pizza slice is larger than your head!… and tasty!

I now gift you with this lovely photo of Wizard Thomas, perhaps slightly blurred, enjoying delicious Sweet cupcakes before my first Swing Dance. Enjoy.

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Chapter 9: The Neek Can Skype!

So, fresh out of my first date, and first kiss EVER, I entered the world of dating…sort of. Yes, I was now in a relationship but 2 things were hindering my “officially dating” status…

1. Our Jobs
2. Christy’s 2 week vacation.

I’ll start with our jobs, which as I believe I have mentioned our situation before, I’ll keep it brief. The short version: We work at the same movie theatre, I was her

Manager, we were not allowed to date. Simple enough? We didn’t actually have to worry about this right away, however, because of my reason 2…

SG

Christy in Singapore

Christy went to Singapore.
No, you meanies, she did not run off for two weeks immediately after starting our relationship just for laughs, but because her parents, in fact, live in Singapore. Having just begun our relationship, however, I admit her being away was disheartening, and I missed her like crazy! We managed to skype a number of times, though, and by the time she had returned home, we had (mostly) worked up a plan regarding our work.

Essentially, we agreed Christy would go to our GM, and ask for a transfer on the grounds that we wanted to start dating. Pretty simple. That was the plan, anyway. Of course, on the night she was going to actually show up and tell him, I panicked and blurted it our before she even got there WHICH  it turns out was a good thing, because some other employee had made several complaints to HR, one of which was that we had been dating.

All in all, it was a pretty routine and easy-fix situation, though that particular annoying employee in question certainly caused me some worry for nothing! Within 2 weeks, Christy transferred to another theatre, we told our friends we were dating, and made the whole thing “Facebook Official!”

Chapter 8: The Neek Breaks the Rules

To recap, mine and Christy’s first date had so far gone something like this:

Dress code uncertainty, Mini Golf attempt, missed kissing opportunity, and rain, rain, rain! So, with that lovely start, and now properly soaked, I whisked my date off to one of her favorite places: TGI Fridays.

In case you were wondering, Christy really likes TGI Fridays for their 1. Parmesan Crusted Chicken, and 2. Strawberry Lemonade which, as on this particular night, she frequently orders as a cocktail with vodka. Personally, I favor their Ribs and Rum and Coke.

So one delicious meal later, Christy and I are making our way to the movie theatre where the 75th Anniversary Wizard of Oz in Imax 3-d was playing! Now I had never seen the Wizard of Oz, but Christy was really excited about re-watching one of her childhood favorites. She had even painted some old flats she had with red glitter to celebrate the occasion! FYI – I liked the movie!  wiz3dWiz

Afterwords, we hopped back in my car and headed back to my place…. end of date, right? If I were a “normal” non-neek first time date-planner, I might say yes, but as you probably have figured out… there was more! What better way to end the night with a glorious round of Futurama episodes?!

Now by this time, I had discovered that Christy actually had rules for first dates!

Rule #1: No alcohol.
Rule#2: No movies.
Rule #3: No going to boy’s place after date.

For those of you that have been paying attention, that makes rules 1, 2 and 3 now snapped in half!…granted, Christy DID explain that those rules were in place on the premise of her going out with someone she hadn’t been spending huge amounts of time with/sort-of-but-not-really dating for a couple months, but instead meant for guys she didn’t know very well. In addition, you have to also consider the fact that she waited to tell me mid-date about them!

It doesn’t really matter, though, because if I have it my way, I intend for her to never have to use those rules again!

For those of you that just won’t let it go… you will be happy to know that night marked my first kiss.

And so my epic first date drew to a close. It was September 24, 2013.

Chapter 7: The Neek vs. The Rain

For those of you that live/have lived in Florida, and quite possibly for many others who have visited, you will know what I mean when I say Florida should not be called the “Sunshine State.” It should be called “The State-that-cannot-make-up-it’s-mind-on-many-things-such-as-weather State.”

For many days leading up to our date, it was raining- and not the typical Florida “Oh hey, I thought you could use a quick torrential downpour of water from the sky and then straight back to sun!” rain. No, that would be too easy.  It would rain for hours, then stop, then maybe a hint of sun, then rain, then just cloudy, then MORE RAIN.

For this reason, I had my preferred plan of starting off at the mini golf locations, and the backup plan of going bowling instead. Go me, right? Wellllll…..

About 2 hours before our date, the skies had cleared and the sun was shinning down like all the Florida postcards promise it does, so I chose mini golf.  I am now convinced, ladies and gentlemen that THIS is the sole purpose of Radar Maps: to foresee unfavorable date weather in advance before dragging your beautiful date halfway through a mini golf course. Oops.

Having successfully arrived at Congo River Golf with Christy, we began our game. We made it all the way to the 12th hole when the raining began. Quickly, we dashed up the next set up wooden stairs which, luckily enough, is at the highest point of the course, and is a covered pavilion with a nearby waterfall flowing just underneath us.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Rain falling, nice sheltered gazebo-type of structure overlooking a lush African-themed wilderness, I’m pretty sure we were hugging from the coldness despite it being summer… perfect opportunity to get my smooch on, right?

Not to Thomas. Instead, I believe my reaction was something along the lines of: “Oh hey! It’s almost stopped again! We should try to finish the course and stick to our schedule.”

Christy followed me down and we continued until around hole 14, which is when the real downpour commenced. Needless to say, we bolted along with all the other soaked mini golfers to the front desk, picked up a rain-check and headed off, wet clothes and all, to the next part of our date – foods!

Chapter 6 : The Neek Gets Soaked

My next post, dear readers, was going to be about my first date, but Christy has informed me that there is one topic I should enlighten you of that occured the weekend before the date. That thing is…the last Not-Date.

Following the asking-of-Christy-on-a-date escapade, which I think we all can agree was entirely epic, the natural progression would be to set a time and make arrangements for said date, correct? Accordingly, Christy and I compared work schedules after receiving them, and agreed that the following Tuesday we would both be off. The date was set.

The logical assumption would probably be that she and I did not intend to spend a large  amount of time together between the date-setting, and the actual date, yes? Originally, I think that was our assumption too, but, as is apparently the running theme for our story, we did it all wrong.

The weekend before the “big date,” we suddenly found ourselves having a large amount of time off together…and accordingly decided to spend it together at Universal.

I would like to take a moment to mention that it never once occurred to me that it would be considered odd for some to make plans for a first date, and then proceed to hang out for a substantial amount of time together a couple days beforehand. Indeed, this fact was only brought to my attention recently (as recently, in fact, as a few days ago when I first drafted this post) by Christy.

No doubt there are those of you shaking your heads, or laughing, or hitting yourselves on the forehead with your open palm at my total lack of perception to these “obvious” dating flaws. All I can say to you is…

Hey, I still got the girl! Right??

But we’re not there yet, so stop getting ahead of me!!

Anyway, I believe I was describing our non-date…

Obviously our impending actual date did have some effect on the way Christy and I related to each other… in the way that we held hands all day. D’awwwwwww. I know, I know!

That was our “water day.” We rode Jurassic Park, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripshaw Falls and Popeye and Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges… and were properly soaked! As we were riding Bluto’s, it started to lightly rain and it rained until we left the park… perfect day for water rides!

All in all, our non-date was just about as perfectly enjoyable as any non-date can be, but in no way does it come close to the big one, the one we’ve all been waiting for – (duh Duh DUH) THE REAL DATE.

As the first date loomed closer, I found myself nervous and uncertain of dating protocols…  Where to go? What to do? What to wear? How to transport ourselves there?…all the usual “first date gitters” I’d assume – and yes, this was my first date. Ever.

Christy had left the schedule of the night’s events up to me, so I stuck with what I knew: Mini Golf, Dinner and a Movie.

Now for the clothes…admittedly, I panicked a little here. Upon realizing that this was perhaps an occasion worthy of carefully planned attire, I took note of my wardrobe, and was a little surprised to find that my clothing was defined by two strict categories: T-Shirts/Jeans and Business-ware. Frantically, I texted Christy asking what the dress code was, and explained my predicament. She kindly assured me that T-Shirts would, in fact, be acceptable to wear. Whew. Crisis averted (yet I swore to myself to purchase a good polo for future use!).

As for the ride…well, any of you who know me personally will know that my car is old and unreliable. Christy drove to my place, then I drove the two of us to our planned activities.

As I approached her on the walkway outside my place, I presented her with an abundance of Hershey chocolate, which I know for a fact is one of her favorites. We got in my car, and off on our date we went!

Chapter 5: The Neek Makes a Move

In four short months (if you count from our first trip to Universal together), Christy and I had become closer than I had ever imagined we would.

So far, a lot of my writing has been about how she has affected my life…and that’s fine since this is my blog about me, but there is one thing I am particularly proud to say that I added to Christy’s life…and that thing is Futurama.

Futurama – an animated science fiction sitcom which I personally find hilarious and witty. I also frequently reference this show, so I didn’t want Christy to miss out on my unparalleled humor just because she didn’t get the punchline!…

Okay, the truth is, I mention Futurama not because it holds some important sentimental  meaning for me. I bring it up, because it was at the end of one glorious episode I was showing Christy, that a certain conversation occurred.

Frequent readers of this blog, I last left you with me asking her “Would it be wrong for me to kiss you?” (Also, I think my voice cracked like a teen in puberty when I asked that).

For your reading pleasure, I shall now recall the rest of that night’s dialogue in play format:

Myself: “Would it be wrong for me to kiss you?”
Christy: “No.”
Myself (With much confusion): “Would it be okay if I kissed you?”
Christy: “Yes.”
Silence, while I attempted to simultaneously process information while working up my nerve.
Christy again: “Well, why don’t you decide after you take me out on a real date instead of these ‘not-dates’?”
Myself, after what seemed like an eternity which was probably only like 2 seconds: “Oh, okay.”

Needless to say my awkwardness kicked in and we went back to watching a show on Netflix while my brain was going over the conversation we just had.

Brain: “What are you doing? Why didn’t you ask her out immediately instead of saying ‘okay’??”
Me: “I have no idea!  What if she says no?  I won’t have any clue what to do after that!”
Brain: “I’m pretty sure she won’t say no considering she TOLD YOU TO ASK HER OUT.”
Me: “She said a real date, not ‘ask me out’ silly brain!”
Brain: “YOU ARE SO DUMB. A real date. How do you go on a real date, HMM? BY ASKING HER OUT.”
Me: “Ok, ok! Stop yelling at me! I will ask her out!”
Brain: “About freaking time!”

So by this time it was getting pretty late, and Christy said that she should head out. As she left, I said:

Myself: “Christy,”
Christy: “Yes?”
Myself: “Want to go on a date with me next week?”

And guess what…

She said yes!

Chapter 4: The Neek Does Not Win the Lottery

Early on in our “friendship,” Christy decided that my life lacked many things that she deemed “essential”… or at least worthy experiencing. Actually, I’m pretty sure it all started with movies and TV shows…

Rohan and Christy frequently discuss TV shows (How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Trueblood and others) and movies…neither of which do I frequently watch. I like trains. And shows about trains. And history. And mythbusters. And…well you probably get the idea.

After many late-night, after-work hang-outs, a list was developed. The lists of “firsts”… things I was supposed to do/watch. The list originated around my birthday, in April, and I was given a year to do as many of the “firsts” (adding to it whatever I wanted) during the year.

To give you an idea, here are a few of the things I accomplished from then up until around August…

First time on a trampoline!

First time on a trampoline!

The List:

1. Jump on a Trampoline

2. Drink Margaritas

3. Attend a Pizza Hut Buffet

4. Watch Pitch Perfect, Avatar the Last Airbender, many Disney movies, The Hunger “Drinking” Games (yes, the drinking was a self added challenge!), Trueblood (okay, I only started it)

5. Play Scattergories

Me on the set of Disaster as a "volunteer" *cough Christy cough*

Me on the set of Disaster as a “volunteer” *cough Christy cough*

6. Cook Pizza (like, make it, not cook it frozen!)

7. Cut beer/wine bottles for craft-time fun

8. Be a volunteer in Universal Studios’ Disaster ride

9. Win the Lottery

Oh wait… what happened with that, was that I TRIED to win the Lottery! In fact, both Christy and I did!

One night, the same night as our Hunger “Drinking” Games, in fact, Christy and I each bought several lottery tickets. We’d been talking about it for a while, and had long since decided on splitting it 50/50 if we were to win. We already had plans on how to build our glorious dream mansion…with a lazy river, secret passageways, a roller coaster on the lawn, our own personal Steak n’ Shake-styled diner/kitchen etc…

Needless to say, when our only-slightly-intoxicated selves checked the winning numbers later that night, we were more than a little bit disappointed.

The sad face, because we didn't win :(

The sad face, because we didn’t win 😦

Coincidentally, that is also the night I began watching Disney movies I had never seen…of course, I couldn’t tell you very much more about them than I could before thanks to a large amount of Rum and Coke.

As we sat together watching Hercules, Mulan and Pocahontas, I somehow found my arm around Christy’s shoulder. Torn between my feelings towards her, and the restrictions that came from us working together, as well as my uncertainty of her affections for me, I said nothing.

The next movie/TV sessions we had turned out much the same way…us close together, me fighting my insecurities and doubts; so what do I do when I’m confused? I ask.

I believe my exact words were “Would it be wrong for me to kiss you?”

Stay tuned, readers. Stay tuned.

Chapter 3: The Neek Hears a Rumor

After our initial trip alone to Universal, it was like a plug had been pulled somewhere, and we were suddenly spending countless hours together.

For one thing, I’m pretty sure we went at least once a week to Universal the first couple of months after we bought our passes. The reasons for this were:

1. It was ridiculously fun.

2. We wanted to get our money’s worth out of them!!

Other activities we did together included things like: mini golf, bowling, and movie-watching. Looking back at these activities, I now see that they were in many ways very “date-like”… a prospect I paid little attention to during this time period.

Additionally, there were always the late-night Steak and Shake hangouts to look forward to… an activity generally only Christy and I shared since Rohan tended to go straight home after work. When I say late night, I mean LATE night. We used to stay there for hours – like until 4 or 5am frequently. What would we do for all that time, you ask? Snack. Chat. Fantasize about winning the Lottery. Hold hands – I mean….

About that… I have since been informed (by Christy) that holding hands/ giving hand massages across the table several times a week for lengthy amounts of time is unusual for “just friends.” Who knew?! Okay, okay, I maybe knew that… but I just didn’t want to stop, and I was afraid of where admitting that might lead!

Needless to say, when we later visited Steak and Shake after actually beginning to date, our waitress, to my astonishment, was not surprised other than to find out that we had not actually been dating before.

Way to show off my social skills, right?

Another exciting development around July was that Christy and I both purchased annual passes to Busch Gardens! All the roller coasters! We only went twice during the summer, however, since it requires more travel time to get there.

Thomas and Christy's first trip to Busch Gardens.

Thomas and Christy’s first trip to Busch Gardens. (Christy is taking the picture)

Basically, for 3-4ish months, Christy and I were getting to know each other really well. We were spending a lot of time together, texting constantly, and ultimately becoming closer.

I know some would say that it would have been better to just “start dating already,” but I disagree. Given my past record with meeting new people…especially girls, I feel like this stage of getting to really know one another just made my feelings for Christy grow that much stronger. Also, you have to remember that we technically weren’t supposed to be spending time together outside of work, my being a manager and all.

Speaking of work, rumors of our relationship were rampant at the theatre. Rumors are typical and many-varied at the theatre, but ours were oddly specific.

Rumor: Thomas and Christy were dating.

Fact: False. (By technicality) We had never discussed dating each other or in any way had “made a move” to a more romantic relationship.

Rumor: Thomas and Christy were spotted holding hands at Chili’s.

Fact: False. We had actually never eaten at Chili’s together when that rumor started circulating. Steak and Shake, yes, but no one from the theatre was ever there when we did.

Rumor: Thomas and Christy were spotted making out in the parking lot of the theatre.

Fact: False. This had never occurred ANYWHERE, much less at our own work place. Come on, people!

I’m sure there were other rumors, but if so I can’t remember. Regardless, we were definitely an “item” at work long before we were an “item.”

By the time we finally got around to part where we were actually together, I’m happy to say that our fellow workers were thrilled and extremely  happy for us, but that part of the story is still to come…

Chapter 2: The Neek Rides a Roller Coaster

After discovering that Christy and I had close birthdays (just over a month apart), we promptly decide that a Birthday Month was obviously in order. Therefore, from around mid-April to mid-May, Birthday Month ensued. To be honest, there were not many activities to be shared during the time, but our actual birthdays were quite memorable.

For my birthday, I received a HUGE Sponge Bob balloon at work from my fellow managers. Christy was working in the Concession Stand that night, and she created a scavenger hunt for me to follow!

For Christy’s birthday, we celebrated by having a chocolate Oreo cake! Yum!

To finish the festivities off with a bang, we planned a whole slew of activities on the day after Christy’s birthday; and what better way was there to celebrate than by taking a trip to visit our favorite (totally real) Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure and Universal?!

It was magical (Quite literally!) – but there was one more important note about this day… it was the first and most time either of us had spent alone with each other outside of work! Now I’m not going to say that love “blossomed between us” or any romantic stuff like that…after all, even if that HAD been the case, I would probably have been too naive to notice… but it was a really fun day!

After the afternoon torrential downpour that is a fairly common Florida occurrence, we met up with Rohan and several other friends at Olive Garden for a birthday dinner, then it was off to see the newly released Star Trek in Imax 3D (for free, I might add!).

Looking back, it is easy to see that in many ways this day marked the beginning of everything else that was to come. As summer began, the time Christy and I spent together lengthened, and became the thing that I more and more looked forward to each week.

Thomas and Christy riding Flight of the Hippogriff during their first trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter together.

Thomas and Christy riding Flight of the Hippogriff during their first trip together to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

One more thing I forgot to mention – our passes to the parks…they are annual ones! I guess there’s hardly a need to say it, but our story had only just begun…

Chapter 1: The Neek Makes a Friend

For anyone who hasn’t figured it out yet, this blog is the story of how I met my girlfriend, stuff we do together, and stupid things I do that she makes fun of me for (and maybe vice versa).

I guess I’ll start at the beginning…

Way back in 2010, I worked as a projectionist in a big movie theatre (I still work there, by the way, but digital upgrades have forced me to diversify my position).

I’d like to say that one day my whole world ceased to exist as I knew it as I gazed into the beautiful blue eyes of our newest transfer employee, that her beauty left me speechless, that her smile was like sunlight, and that I knew we were somehow destined to be together…

I’d LIKE to say that, but the truth is, we worked together at that theatre for around 3 years before really taking notice of each other in a “beyond the workplace” kind of way. That sounds a little harsh, maybe, but I was her manager, she was a concessionist, and the two weren’t really supposed to “mix.”  It wasn’t that I didn’t know or talk to her for all that time, just that our time spent together was solely made up of coinciding shifts at work.

That being said, our friendship began sometime around the start of the New Year in 2013, but it was not until closer to April that I realized there might be something more to our story than just casual friendship.

Working at a movie theatre means working late hours frequently. As a manager, it isn’t uncommon for me to stay until somewhere between 1:30-3:30 am depending on our last showtimes. As a, for lack of a better term, “normal” employee, Christy would generally have been scheduled to finish up a closing shift at least an hour before I was finished, sometimes more.

Sometime around February of 2013, there was a shift in the usual dynamic of closing…Christy stayed. It was the first of many nights where Christy lingered after her shift was over to hang with myself and our friend, and also a Manager, Rohan. As the days became weeks, and weeks became months, our nighttime hangouts between the 3 of us became routine.

There was texting between the two of us (late night pleas for help with strange computer issues on Christy’s part), we “friended” each other on facebook etc…

March and April marked the first “non-work” excursions the 3 of us did together… the 1st was to Outback with a 4th fellow employee, the 2nd was the 3 of us at the Bowling Alley, and then a movie.

By this time, our late nights had begun to incorporate after-work visits to Denny’s and Steak and Shake as well.

Before I even realized what had occurred, I had made a new friend! I tend to be shy and anti-social around people I don’t know. Therefore, as an employee I had worked with for over 3 years, Christy had already gained an advantage in the communicate-with-Thomas category.

One of the things I discovered that she and I shared was a common obsession with all things Harry Potter! Accordingly, given our Orlando, Florida location, we together decided that a trip to Universal’s infamous Wizarding World of Harry Potter was completely necessary! Little did we know, that one idea could lead to so much more than being friends…