For you see, each day I love you more; today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow. - Rosemonde Gerald
Our Story follows a rather circuitous route but you may stop reading and skip ahead to the wedding pictures if you get bored. JClick on the thumbnails below in order to see pictures of our story as it unfolds. Use your browser's back button to return to this page.
And so it begins…
Grisel was born in New Jersey on December 12th (yes, I left the year off on purpose J). Jeff was born a number of years later in California on June 9th (yes, I am an "older woman"). Being born on opposite coasts was no impediment, however, for a couple who was meant to be together. In the summer between 4th and 5th grade, my parents decided that New Jersey was not the place to raise a daughter and so moved to... southern California (ironic, isn't it?). I was, of course, vehemently opposed to this because I was leaving everyone I had ever known behind, but my protests predictable fell on deaf ears. Of course, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else now but I wouldn't have believed that at that point in my life.
are a few interesting coincidences of note during this period of our
lives. The first is that Jeff lived in Gardena, across the street from
North Torrance where I lived, during the 11 years that I lived in
Torrance. Our homes were about a 5 minute drive apart. My
first "real" job, where I worked for over 3 years beginning
with my senior year of high school, was located roughly between our homes,
a few minutes walk from either. We never met, of course. Nor did
we end up meeting at California State University Long Beach, were we
both earned the same exact Bachelor's degree. However, the years that we
attended CSULB didn't overlap at all, so that's to be expected.
Jeff and I met on December 1st, 1997. That was the day that I started working at Relational Data Systems (RDS), a consulting firm specializing in client-server solutions based in Irvine, California. For a good portion of my first morning there, Jeff and I huddled around my computer while he finished setting it up. I think the sum total of his verbal output was about a dozen words, if that, mostly consisting of one word answers to my questions. Those of you that know Jeff are all probably nodding your heads in understanding as you read this. Those of you that know me know that I am perfectly able to fill idle conversation time when the need arises. The need was, indeed, great.
So, after our first few hours together, my first impressions of Jeff were that although he was nice, cute, and intelligent, he was just too darn quiet. Further interaction with him would probably drive me insane, or at the very least, be an exhausting experience. Jeff’s first impression of me was that I talked too much. I think it’s fair to say that if someone had stepped out of a time machine and told us that we would be married four years later, we would both have asked what drugs they were taking.
Insight by CAPS
was tasked to develop some of the client side functionality for the
project (CAPS) that I was working on full time. This forced Jeff to have
to talk to me on a semi-regular basis.
During this time, I learned a few things.
I learned that despite the fact I still didn’t know much about
him, I was definitely interested in getting to know this shy, quiet man.
What I did know about him – tall, dark, handsome, nice, smart,
and a volleyball player – was enough for me to consider the
possibilities. What I
didn’t know about him yet, but subsequently found out – the fact
that he already had a girlfriend – pretty much nipped that interest in
the bud. Once again the old
adage was proven true: All of the good ones are taken.
Knight in Shining 4-Runner
In the summer of 1998, my car’s clutch died a horrible death. It needed to be in the shop for a few days, which left me without a way to get to work. Jeff was the only person at RDS that worked farther north than I did and who passed my home on his way to work. Thus, he was the perfect person to hitch a ride with during the “crisis”.
Now, I must digress for a minute. I hate driving with a passion so I had already mentioned carpooling to Jeff a few times during the prior six months. Jeff had given me one of his patented Jeff answers – something along the lines of “Sure, we can do that sometime”. Those of you that know Jeff are nodding again, I’m sure of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know Jeff as well as I do now, so of course, I mentioned the carpooling option several times before I finally figured out that Jeff was really never going to carpool but just couldn’t quite bring himself to say “no”.
Thus, I approached him reluctantly with this request. I explained that it would only be a few days at most. Being the helpful guy that he is, he couldn’t resist helping the “maiden in distress” and the three-day carpool schedule was arranged.
hours that I spent in the car with Jeff those first few days of
carpooling were very long. I remember having to pretty much talk
the entire time which was extremely exhausting.
But, I reasoned, it was only going to be for a few days. Well, three days later I had my car back… and Jeff
wanted to continue to carpool! I
was shocked but I was happy to comply.
Anything to cut down the horrendous drive, even if I did have to
talk non-stop for nearly two hours per day!
am a volleyball fanatic so naturally volleyball was one of the
many topics that I talked about, while Jeff listened, during our carpool
hours. Jeff hadn’t played
volleyball for years and had missed the sport.
He had only played indoor 6-person volleyball in the past whereas
I am more of a beach doubles player.
Finally, after months of telling him all about the wonders of
beach volleyball and how much
better it was than indoor volleyball , I was able to talk him into taking a beach
volleyball class and playing in several beach volleyball tournaments.
We even played in a few coed tournaments as a team.
It was fun and it did start to bring Jeff out of his shell a bit.
Finally, after months of carpooling and playing volleyball, he actually started
talking to me… still not a lot, but it was a start.
The Holidays. The dreadful combination of being single with Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/Kwanzaa/etc and New Year’s Eve looming on the horizon weighed heavily upon me in the last months of 1998. After six months of constant exposure to Jeff, it seemed to me that he and I would be a good match… but Jeff was taken. There was no use barking up that particular tree. So, I decided to make an early New Year’s Resolution effective December 1998. I actually sent an email to a guy I’d known for years and asked him to come to the RDS Holiday party… and he did.
so began my year of pondering the question: “What the heck are these
men thinking?” and other similar exasperated questions. And to whom did I turn to answer these questions?
Why, Jeff of course. Who
better than to explain male behavior than another male, right?
As it turns out, he usually couldn’t make sense of their behavior
either but an odd thing happened in September of 1999 as a result of all
of my relationship discussions. Jeff
finally started talking to me about his relationship.
For most of the year, he’d listened to me vent about my
experiences and had never said a single word about his own ailing relationship. Now,
after nearly two years of knowing him, he finally opened up and it all came
the Ashes, a New Beginning
make a very long and painful story short, Jeff terminated his
relationship in January 2000. Shortly
thereafter, we began dating. After
two years of getting to know each other first as co-workers, then
carpool buddies, volleyball partners, and finally friends and
confidants, we were now a couple... and it
felt wonderful. Our female co-workers at RDS had all seen it coming.
The male co-workers, of course, were caught completely by
Being the travel-a-holic that I am, I had to show Jeff the marvels of traveling. We ended up taking three trips in 2000. We started small: For his birthday in June I surprised him with a weekend trip to Catalina Island. He had mentioned that he had never been there and had always wanted to go. That was all the prompting I had needed.
But the true test of love and compatibility
was a 15-day trip to Greece in September.
I did almost strangle him a few times while he was driving and not
listening to my directions, but for the most part we got along very well
for the two weeks of uninterrupted togetherness.
This was a good sign. As an added bonus, we also survived driving
The third test of travel that year was a
five-day trip to Sedona.
only experienced two complications in Sedona, thankfully both external
to the relationship. The
first was when we were given keys to a timeshare that was already in use. The second was
when we almost slipped to our deaths (ok, maybe just mild to major
injury) coming down from Bell Rock.
After three trips, we were still in love and ready for the next
The Test of Fire
that had gone on before was nothing compared to the most dreadful of
relationship tests: Buying
a home together. In typical
“when it rains, it pours” manner, Jeff’s house went into escrow on
the same exact date that our bid on a new home was accepted.
Incidentally, that day also happened to be the same day that we
were flying to Arizona for our Sedona vacation and the day before
Thanksgiving, one of the busiest days to fly.
We were signing all sorts of forms and faxing them right before
we got on our plane. Later, we faxed more forms from our timeshare in Sedona. It was crazy, but it all paled in comparison to the packing and moving
of two complete households into one home in less than five weeks.
We moved into our new home in Huntington Beach on December 30th,
2000. Happy New Year to
us… but we didn’t really celebrate.
We spent New Year’s Eve passed out on our mattress.
We’re still unpacking and making home improvements…
but that’s another story.
On March 30th, 2001 Jeff (finally) proposed. The proposal “cast” included dinner at Louise’s, a Babylon 5 episode, a toothbrush, exorcised options, and a platinum band. There was supposed to be a plane in attendance but that didn’t end up happening. Don’t ask.
The important point is that we were engaged. Since neither of us was interested in a long engagement, we decided to use our upcoming trip (with me, there’s always an upcoming trip in the works) to Malta and England as our honeymoon. That gave us less than five months to plan a wedding.
After a false start with a Laguna Beach venue that subsequently went out of business, we decided to upgrade the vacation turned honeymoon into the wedding venue as well. Unfortunately, England requires a 25-day residency period prior to getting married so we couldn’t get married there. Therefore, we ended up having to “settle” and get married in Scotland instead. Bummer, that. J
And that’s the story of us… well, the beginning anyway. The rest of it will undoubtedly be chronicled on future pages of this web site. And, in case you're wondering: No cold feet here - just warm, toasty feet. J
Click here to Join The Millennium Brides NetRing.
© All pictures are
Copyright 2001 Grisel Gonzalez, Lori Nichols & Paul Prosise
All rights reserved.