Let’s begin in 1998 when I first got online. Ok so, fall/winter of 1998 I go online for the first time and as suggested by a friend, I download and install mIRC. On mIRC, I meet a ton of amazing people, some of which I consider to be my best friends. There is this one guy, we'll cal him Hank, because, his name is....Hank :) Hank used to live in Cleveland, but lived in Florida at the time.
Hank is a great friend, and throughout the years we become pretty close friends. Towards the end of 2001, Hank lost his mom and I left my husband, so we often talked online and by telephone as we were both needing a buddy then. Christmas Eve, Hanky is back in Cleveland and he calls me up to wish me a Merry Christmas etc, and during the course of the conversation, had to pass me off to one of his friends because he had to go move a piece of furniture or something. So he says 'Here talk to my buddy Eric, I'll be back' so 45 minutes later, Hank realizes Eric has left the room, with his phone and we were still talking LOL. Eric and I hit it off so well on the phone during that conversation, we exchanged emails and phone numbers and when they got back to Eric’s place, he had Hank install mIRC onto his computer so we could communicate.
At this time, both of us knew something pretty special had happened on the phone….and we hadn’t seen each other yet, not even a picture. First order of business….he emails me a picture. Now it’s a band picture….so there are 4 guys in the picture and I was so excited to see it I didn’t read properly which one he was…2nd from the right or 2nd from the left….so I think left and its this super skinny guy who kinda looks like a cross between Howard Stern and Cher on drugs (sorry Nick) and I was looking at the guy 2nd from the right thinking to myself….damn why cant it be THAT guy?!?!
As I am checking out the picture, Eric pops onto mIRC, Hanky has him set up to talk to me…so I ask him…left or right? He replies….right…I was dancing around the room! So I sent him a pic of me…and all he said was ‘more’ after each picture I sent he said ‘more’ hehehe
Immediately we started to make plans to meet, but unfortunately neither of us was in a place where we had a vehicle reliable enough to take a 10 hour trip in the winter nor the time off it would have taken to take a 20 hour bus ride each way….so we kept trying to come up with something, sometimes wondering if it would ever happen.
One day we are talking on the phone, just chatting and I casually ask him ‘hey, do you like hair metal?’ his reply ‘hell ya’. So I proceed to tell him about a concert my friend and I are planning to attend in Sault Ste Marie Michigan the next month. He asks me who is playing and I tell him ‘LA Guns, Firehouse and Warrant’ his reply ‘Kick ass, I know those guys, I just had a beer with Billy Morris the other day’. So I was all ‘why don’t you come too????” knowing that it is a 10 hour trip, winter and again, neither of us with decent enough vehicles….he says…”lemme get back to you, if I cant make it I will at least get you free tix for the show”.
Here is the plan. Hank is going to fly from Florida, pick up Eric in Cleveland, they are going to borrow a friend’s truck and drive to the Soo to see a show, of a band with a guy in it that he can see on any given day in his bar in Cleveland. My friend doubts everything…..but goes along for the ride.
We drive thru a blizzard to the Soo, only 2 hours from our house….Eric and Hank drive 10 hours thru a blizzard, after Eric had to work and perform until 3 am at their bands dvd release party….talk about bad timing.
My friend Dawn and I check into our hotel and as she is still trying to prepare me for the downer of him not showing up, I ask if they have checked in yet, and lo and behold…they were there!
We met up in the lobby; I couldn’t be pried off of Eric LOL. We went to the show, it rocked, met Billy after the show, and I felt like a kid in high school!! The hardest saddest day of my life at that point as leaving him the next day not knowing if or when I would see him again.
I managed to get a car, and drove to Niagara Falls, and he once again borrowed the truck to pick me up, and I came to Cleveland for the weekend to visit him and see some of the city and meet a few of his friends. It was a great time, we got so close :)
A few weeks after the second meeting I started to see myself slide into a depression, I was in love with someone from another country and at the time it may as well have been another world! I knew I wanted to be with him for the rest of my life but I had just poked into the visa thing and was completely overwhelmed by it all. I also I knew I had to make a move. 1 to get out of the town I was in and away from all the negativity surrounding me and my kids following the split from my ex. He didn’t make life easy, stalked us annoyed us, etc. So I decided to move to southern Ontario, and that would put me 5 hours from the love of my life instead of 10, and give me and my boys a new start, a fresh stat, without black cloud hanging over us like it was up north.
Once again I am on my way to Cleveland, I have a car, I have motivation and I am gonna see my baby! I have no trouble crossing the border, or finding my way….what I do have trouble with is my car. The motor blew in PA, at 2 am. We were trying to time the trip so that my arrival would co-inside with him getting off work at 3 am. So there I am stranded in PA with a blown motor…so I try to call him on my cell phone and …..No service! Great, so I take my stuff out of the car, and I start down the road. Not too long before I get a ride, get to a phone and cal him to pick me up at the Ohio/PA state line. I was soooo happy to see him but damn did I get a lecture about taking a ride from a stranger .The naive Canuck strikes again LOL. The car was junked. I took the plates off and abandoned it there, called a wrecking company and said ‘it’s yours, go get it’, spend a few extra days in Cleveland and take a Greyhound home
I make the move to southern Ontario, all goes well, but now I am without a vehicle at all, which sucks. I also have to find a job and get the kids settled and school and stuff, so I didn't get to get back to Cleveland until December.
After a couple postponements in November due to work and kids and stuff, I am finally able to get back to my baby via Greyhound. Not so horrible of an experience, and once again I was home with my baby in Ohio. I managed to buy a car at the end of December and began my ritual of monthly trips to Ohio. We managed to see each other about 1 weekend a month for all of 2003 with me doing all the travel. His truck is a work truck and just wouldn’t make the journey, I had a reliable car and love to drive and needed a weekend away once a month so it all worked out rather well
The trips became more frequent in 2004 averaging every 2nd weekend while we desperately tried to figure out how to get me to the USA. We knew about the k-1 route but neither of us liked the idea of being told when we had to get married or being told we had to get married period. We wanted to get married but on our own terms, and time. Finally in July 2004 he said….lets fill out the k-1 papers. We both knew at that point that marriage was what we both wanted, regardless of the time frame. If immigration meant getting married the next day, we were for it….we just wanted to be together.
July 2004-filed the I-129
October 2005 –had the Montréal interview
December 2005 –crossed the border
February 4 2006-GOT MARRIED, applied for EAD AOS and AP
March 2006-finally going on our honeymoon , had biometrics done
We had 1 wedding, it is possible to have a proper wedding put together in 90 days ....well when u formerly owned a bridal shop and know the planning thing like the back of your hand....and when you know you want a small fun less formal wedding...its a lot easier :)
My interview was in October, my fiance formally 'proposed' in November...we were waiting for approval b4 getting formally engaged...I crossed December 6th and we were married February 4th.
I made my gown, took me about a month, we found an awesome church a block away, met with the pastor and confirmed the church in a matter of days following the engagement. The hall was a given, my husband works at a bar weekends, the owners are long time friends, the wife stood as my matron of honour so it was natural that we would have the wedding afterparty there. Ya, not 'reception' it was an afterparty (rockstars never give up thier ways lol). We had a nice wedding at the church, went for dinner with immediate family at a great Italian restaurant that had a private dining room. It was intimate and fun.
We went home and put together the food trays for the afterparty, cheese and crackers, cold cuts and breads, pumpernickle spinach dip stuff, some hot foods too, lasagne, mac & cheese lol, and veggie lasagne (the club had chaffing dishes to keep it hot, and we bought it premade at BJ's wholesale club). We brought the food up to the club and laid it out on tables, and our guess loved it.
My husband has been in bands all his life, all his friends are musicians, so needless to say we had live entertainment play all night! It was informal and fun, everyone had a blast and it was a perfect fit for my husband and I.