The Boyfriend

Yesterday was my last day in a long-distance relationship. Tonight I fly to Boston to help the Fianc&eacute move to Northern Virginia. We’ll be living on the same street, him just three blocks up and to the left.

I don’t know how we got here, but I know it’s been a five year journey. But at the same time, it seems like just yesterday we spent our first summer together in Austin. I’m excited to see what our future will be likethat we can spend more time together.

This probably means it is now unexceptable for me to come home from work and watch four hours of Star Trek: The Next Generation while eating a pudding cup.

The story of how we got engaged isn’t really important. What’s important is that the next day when I woke up with a case of Montezuma’s revenge in a New York City hotel room, he sat with me on a street corner bench as I ate crackers and drank iced green tea.

The Morning After

He is the man that I knew I would marry for the past two years. The proposal was really just a formality.

A formality that resulted in an amazing piece of jewelry.

Ring on It

On our five year dating anniversary, the Boyfriend became the Fiancé.

Now, let’s work on making him the Husband.

The Boyfriend and I share a Google Doc titled “The Wedding Savings Spreadsheet”. There is a column for how much I’m saving per month for our wedding and another column to show the Boyfriend’s matching contribution. Then it tallies our total up at the bottom.

It is one of my favorite things.

Since I tend to live like a miser, the Boyfriend insists I can take money out of my wedding fund to buy something. But I never have.

Until two months ago when I asked him if I could take $250 from the wedding fund and take Suann Song’s letterpress printing class. His response: of course, actually I demand you take the money.

When I told this story in my class on Saturday, one of the girls exclaimed “Marry him!”.

* * *

The Hive at 1511 is just three Metro stops from my apartment in Old Town Alexandria. I’d passed by the adorable little rowhouse that houses not only Simple Song Design but Kate Headley Photography and Ritzy Bee Events right after the ladies announced they were opening a studio. To be able to go inside was truly special; it looks like something out of a movie staring Meg Ryan with sun filled rooms beautifully decorated. At the end of the day, I told the Boyfriend that the entire experience was like a fantasy. I left feeling inspired.

The class was three students, including myself. We watched a short film on the art of letterpress (after taking this class, I appreciate it as an art) then headed to the back to start printing.

Our first design was a set of blind embossed (no ink) cards with a phrase or name of our choice. The second set of prints used the photopolymer plate we designed with Suann.

It took over a month and several consultations with friends before I decided on a J in a circle. You can see it above, set up to print.

Here is a shot of the entire Pearl press.

This was my view as I loaded the paper.

Action time! The only way I got a successful print was to while operating the press. I’m not so good at multitasking while operating a hundred year old piece of machinery.

To see photos of my finished product, skip on over to The Hive’s blog. Or don’t, so you can be totally surprised when you receive one of my creations in the mail.

As our class was wrapping up, Suann talked about how the Boyfriend and I can come back for the next workshop: print your own wedding invitations. She had it all laid out, who would print what on which machine. It’s all set.

The Boyfriend totally didn’t see that coming when I took the money.

This was the last weekend he would be a visitor in D.C. and also the 2 year anniversary of my move to the District.

-He arrived at 10 p.m.
-Late dinner at our neighborhood Italian restaruant

-The Boyfriend woke up early, visited two apartments in my neighborhood
-He returned by 11:15 with a lease on a new place to start August 1
-Lunch in the city with friends at Farmers & Fishers.
-Shirt shopping at J.Crew for the Boyfriend (nothing purchased)
-Sex and the City 2
-Dinner at Eatonville with friends

-Saw friend’s band open for Fitz and the Tantrums at the Black Cat

-The Boyfriend was up early again to get our rental car at the airport

-Motored up I-95 in our rented PT Cruiser
-Shirt shopping at the J.Crew Outlet at Arundel Mills (items purchased)
-Continued to Baltimore with Angela and her Dad
-Visited: Fells Point, HMS Sutherland, Edgar Allen Poe House, Westminster Cemetary, Fort McHenry

2011 Johnson Family Calendar

-Consumed: pizza, gelato, crab cake
-Returned the rental car by 11 p.m. with a full tank of gas

-No one was up early
-Purchased Sam Adams Summer Ale and headed to Virgina for a birthday party barbeque
-Ate hotdogs and watched Jersey Shore
-Returned home in time for the Boyfriend to Metro out to Dulles and catch his flight

Setting: on the phone
Scenario: discussing a friend’s wedding

Me: They are just going to have snacks, like crudités. Then the cakes are going to be stacked petit fours and beignets.
The Boyfriend: I have no idea what any of those words you just said are, but it all sounds good.

Setting: work last Friday
Scenario: A senior co-worker asks a few of us younger staff members how we are doing after last week’s layoffs

Me: Well, I cried in a bar last week.
Her: I’ve done that.
Me: I hadn’t had anything to drink yet.
Her: I haven’t done that.

* * *

Setting: at our bar last Friday, a week after the layoffs
Scenario: former co-worker (the harbinger of the above mentioned bar tears) talks to me about the situtation

Him: You are the only person taking this badly, and I need you to stop. You are making me worry. No one else is worried but you!
Me: I know! I just feel so bad for you.
Him: I’m going to be fine. Trust me! I’ll be around, going places. I’m going to send you a picture of me somewhere eating a banana with a monkey; I’ll have a goofy grin on my face. Then you’ll know I’m fine.

* * *

Setting: church yesterday
Scenario: Our priest, the one we are talking marriage, slips in my pew before mass to catch up with me

Fr: What’s new?
Me: *thinks* There were massive layoffs at my office, but I kept my job!
Fr: That’s good. The Boyfriend must have been praying for you.

Yes, he called him “the Boyfriend” and not his given name.

The priest we are discussing marriage with is our age; he graduated from the seminary in July. (He shared a fist bump with the Boyfriend, since both are celebrating their first year not in school since age five.)

When he asked us each “Why Jillian; why the Boyfriend?”, I remember looking over at the Boyfriend and thinking “Yeah, why?” But before I could answer, the priest interjected that our answer could not include the word “love”. And I said “It wasn’t going to.”

I don’t want to marry the Boyfriend because I love him, that much I know.

* * *

Last Saturday was (I think) suppose to be a really romantic weekend in New York City for us. We had a nice hotel room and reservations at a great restaurant.

But we spent the majority of the weekend battling the monsoon that descended upon New York City. By 4 o’clock on Saturday, I asked the Boyfriend if we could just go back to the hotel and get out of our wet clothes.

As we ran up Central Park towards the hotel, without using our useless umbrellas, the Boyfriend looked to me and said “There’s no one I’d rather be doing this with but I really don’t even want to be doing this with you right now.”

* * *

Yesterday there were massive layoffs at my office. I don’t like calling the Boyfriend at work, but I couldn’t wait until our nightly call to tell him. My heart was broken, I was physically shaking, and the tears were coming fast.

He was shocked when I started listing off the people who were gone. And I said “What if it’s me too? I’ll just come live in Boston right?”. This is what he says at the end of each visit, that he’s taking me back with him to Boston. His response was a resounding yes and that we would be ok.

When we did have our nightly talk, he said that he was serious: if I ever lost my job (which, thankfully, I did not yesterday), I could go be with him or stay here or do anything I wanted. And we would be ok.


Setting: on the phone with the Boyfriend
Scenario: The Boyfriend and I have a special place in our hearts for the National Postal Museum. I called their special events coordinator to see about having our wedding reception there.

Me: They don’t hold events unless you are a non-profit or corporation.
The Boyfriend: Oh, man!
Me: All the Smithsonian museums are the same, the woman said. So that’s that. Unless you want to make us and our wedding into a 501(c)?
The Boyfriend: I could do that! Oh, wait. No I can’t. I went to Yale. But my Dad could do it for us!

Because he went to a law school that taught real life applications of the law.

Last Saturday, the Boyfriend and I sat down with the priest at the church where I want to get married. He filled out a questionnaire with us each separately. (No, it wasn’t the FOCCUS test if you know what that is; this was more preliminary).

Sample questions:
Are you currently married to someone else?
Are there any reasons why you can’t get married?
Are there any reasons why you can’t have children?
Is anyone forcing you to do this?*

We were also asked how long we have known each other, and I responded “since 1996”. Fr. wouldn’t accept that as an answer. So I said “Fine, 2004”.

Our answers were kept a secret. Until last night when I said to the Boyfriend “Did you know that Fr. wouldn’t let me say that I’ve known you since 1996?” And the Boyfriend said “Yeah, he wouldn’t let me say that either.”

That sent me into uncontrollable giggles.

*I wanted to say, “YES!”**. But the priest didn’t take that as a joke. So “no” was recorded on the questionnaire.

**Their names are: Katie, Bradley, Mum and Dad.

On the Trapeze School website, The Boyfriend read that beginners can try to do a catch if they show enough skill. When I heard this I thought “Yeah right, neither of us will be able to accomplish that.”

As I can only suspect, the Boyfriend went into a secret Trapeze School training camp while still in Boston. Because on his first run on the Trapeze, he did the set of maneuvers required for a catch perfectly. He even “anticipated” (read: did it on his own time) the calls from the instructors:

When it was time for the catches to begin, the Boyfriend was in the top of the group. So he pushed up the sleeves of the new outdoor running shirt I bought him specifically for Trapeze School and applied chalk to his forearms.

Here’s one of his two perfect catches:

I did pout a little when the Boyfriend ended up being the more stellar circus performer out of the two of us. It was MY BIRTHDAY! I should have been the best! I didn’t realize I would be so competitive with the Boyfriend. He really can achieve anything if he sets his mind to it. Texas State Bar exam, trapeze school, it’s all the same.

Now he definitely has a career to fall back on if the legal industry ever completely plummets.

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