Speed Dating

Speed Dating

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before, “A first date feels a lot like a job interview.”

I believe the stress that is involved with meeting a stranger for the first time we tend to equate the experience to one that most people can relate to. Which is why most first dates have the feel of a job interview. Imagine a scenario in which you are in a room where everyone is on a job interview at the same time. Not only are you on a consistent interview process, but every ten minutes the process starts over with a new potential partner. I am not referring to a Job Fair, but an experience that is known as “Speed Dating.”

We’ve all seen commercials, movies and TV shows that depict people in a “Speed Dating” situation. Many times the scenes have a comical element to them. Typically, the scene involves two people sitting across from each other who look like they come from completely different backgrounds. They try to find a common ground by asking random questions to each other, only to find out that the woman used to be a man or something else to make you laugh. The most recent commercial that portrays this rather well is by eHarmony in which a woman looks up to find a man sitting across from her with his face painted in black and white. That commercial makes me laugh because even though it stretches the truth to several degrees, it does accurately symbolize the “Speed Dating” experience.

As someone who has participated in this experiment, I can honestly tell you “Speed Dating” in real life is exactly how it is made to seem on TV. I am not here to insinuate that a person will sit across from you with their face painted in a Gothic theme. However, be prepared to meet someone who has decided that they will pretend to be someone who they are not in real life.

Maybe it is the stress of meeting several people in a short time frame? Or maybe after being asked the same questions over and over again, they decide to create a new personality to change-up the momentum? Who knows and who cares? Just understand that first impressions are key to any new relationship and in some cases that first impression may come in layers. You might just have to peel the first couple of layers to get to the real person.

We all judge someone from the first time we see or meet them. Is this fair? No, but it is human nature. Understand it, appreciate it and try not to worry about it. It is a fact of life. Think about the first time you met your boss, he told you about the job you were interviewing for and when you started that job, you realize that there is more to it than what you were told. It is the same with dating and/or relationships. We start with one impression of the person that we have chosen, only to find out that there is more to the story. At that point, we must decide is this for me or do I want something else?

Times up, move to the next table!

Bells and Cats

Bells and Cats

Some of the best advice that was given to me when I got back into the dating world was to find someone who shared common interests or hobbies. Couples who play together, have a better chance of staying together. I decided that if I wanted a rewarding relationship, my goal would be to find someone who enjoyed the little things in life that make me happy.

I updated my online dating profile emphasizing my interests and hobbies in order to attract someone who felt the same way. I soon began chatting with a woman who enjoyed hiking and soccer. Our first date began with lunch at a Mexican restaurant. While we enjoyed our Margaritas we shared our common love for soccer and how hikes in a park are a good way to cleanse the stressful thoughts in your head.

I could tell that my date was something of a free spirit and one with an artistic mind. Her demeanor was new to me and I was intrigued by her thought process of how life was meant to be lived. After our lunch we agreed to meet at the end of the week at a local park to go for a walk. Again a first for me, I’d never been on a walking date. It sounded refreshing and I looked forward to learning more about this woman.

It was a nice Spring afternoon on a Sunday, a day meant to relax and prepare for the upcoming week. A walk is just what I needed and I was eager to see my date again. The park we chose was one of great scenery and beauty. The trees were in full bloom and this park was filled with several good hills to walk. We began our walk along the paths next to the road, but then ventured down the paths in the woods.

Why had I never thought of a walking date before? This was a great way to get to know someone in an outdoor setting that didn’t involve eating or drinking. During our conversations I noticed that her viewpoints were more liberal than mine, but I found her to be an overall positive person and free of drama. Maybe that was due to her never being married or having any children?

As we approached our vehicles after our hike, she invited me to come back to her place to hang out. She told me that she doesn’t watch much TV, but had several episodes of “Sex and the City” recorded that we could watch. Does she think men watch that show? Okay, maybe for the Samantha sex scenes, but who was I kidding? I took this as a hint and told her that I would love to hang out with her the rest of the day.

We arrive at her condo and as soon as she opens the door, I was hit with the odor of a cat’s litter box. We walk into her living room and we are welcomed by four cats. I am allergic to cats and had to tolerate two cats during my marriage. She starts introducing me to them and telling me their names. Just so I don’t come off like a jerk, I start petting one of the cats. Now all I can think about is to not rub my eyes or this date is over.

I definitely need to wash my hands so I ask her where I can use the restroom. She directs me down a hallway to her bathroom. As I am walking down the hallway, I notice several pictures of bells on the walls. When I reach the bathroom, I turn on the lights and am greeted with more pictures of bells in her bathroom. Very interesting, I can’t wait to hear the reason for her love for bells.

I return from washing my hands to find my date sitting on her couch with her four cats surrounding her. This is going to be a disaster because as she is making room for me to sit next to her on the couch, I can’t help but notice all of the cat hair attached to the couch. In my mind, I am telling myself that I can get through this because if I play my cards right, I think I know where this date may lead.

I decided to postpone the couch sitting by asking her about the pictures of bells throughout her condo. She stands up from the couch and has me follow her into her dining room. In her dining room are three curio cabinets filled with silver and ceramic bells in all sizes. My date starts explaining to me that as a little girl, her grandmother would give her bells to collect. They would go to flea markets together seeking out different bells for her collection. There was even a group that they created for people who loved bells. What? Is she serious?

She told me that even though her grandmother is very old that they still continue to visit flea markets together on a regular basis to find new bells. They were even planning a trip to Washington DC to attend an event for bell collectors. She asked me if I would ever be interested in going to a flea market with her to search for new bells. Immediately, my mind starts to wonder to thoughts of wandering thru flea market booths for bells. “Hell, No!” is what I want to say, but again I don’t want to sound like a jerk and ruin the moment so I said, “that sounds good.”

We make our way back to the living room and sit on the couch. As I am sitting on the couch, I notice the cat hair is now in orbit around me because as I sat down the hair floated in the air. To make matters worse, the cats have rejoined us on the couch. There are two sitting behind us and the other two are in our laps. I am trying really hard not to sneeze, but it is inevitable that is going to happen and with a fury.

The cat in my lap starts to rearrange itself. It is quickly made clear to me that this cat has all of its claws! Did I mention that I was still in shorts from our walking expedition? The claws are not feeling so good. My legs and crotch were begging for some relief from the claws. But just as I begin to move the cat in my lap, the one behind me starts climbing on my back and head. My date is loving it and says, “they really like you.” Yeah, sure they do. Just my luck!

I can feel the allergic reaction I had been trying to delay start to build up and I can’t fight back the sneezes or watery eyes. As my date notices this, she begins to remove her cats off the couch. I thank her for removing them, but now I feel like a jerk. She asks me, why I didn’t tell her that I was allergic to cats and I explain that I didn’t want to cause a problem so I tried making the best of the situation. She told me that she understood and hopes that her cats don’t create a problem for me. I told her that it would be okay and I could get used to it.

My date starts the recorded episodes of “Sex and the City” and before it can begin, I grab her hand and lean in for a kiss. Suddenly, out of nowhere one of her cats jumps off my face before our lips can touch. What the hell just happened? As I am feeling my face, my date starts laughing at what had just taken place. I couldn’t help but laugh either, but then my date tells me that I am bleeding. I go back into the “bell-themed” restroom and look in the mirror. I have scratches on my face and blood is dripping down my right cheek. On top of that, my eyes are watery, swollen and pink from the allergic reaction to her cats. I look like a freaking zombie!

I wash my face and hands, hoping it will help. Then a sneezing frenzy begins and I realize that I need to vacate the premises. I grab some tissues so that I can blow my nose and keep the blood from dripping down my cheek. When I walk back in the room, my date asks if I am okay and ready to watch the show. I told her that I am going to have to leave because I need some relief from the cats since my allergic reaction had got so bad. She understands, but seems very disappointed.

I told her that I would call her later and looked forward to seeing her again. As soon as I get in my car and head home, my allergies get better. No more sneezing and my eyes don’t seem to be watering any more. I look in my rearview mirror and can’t believe that I have three scratches going down my right cheek. How do I explain this to my co-workers at work tomorrow?

Later that evening, I receive a phone call from my date. She wanted to know how I was doing and if I recovered from the cat attack. I told her that as soon as I got back home, my allergies went away. She apologized for her cat jumping off my face. We laughed about it and she was curious if I thought I could deal with her cats. I told her that it would be challenging because of my allergies. She politely explained that she couldn’t date someone who didn’t like her cats. I explained that it had nothing to do with liking her cats, but just a situation that would be tough for me to spend time at her place due to my allergies.

Her next question to me centered on her hobby of collecting bells. Would I be interested in going to flea markets with her and her grandmother to seek out new “bell” treasures? I finally had to come to the realization that I even though I enjoyed her free way of thinking and positive outlook on life that bells or cats are just not my thing. We decided that this just wouldn’t work between us and wished each other the best of luck in finding a dating partner.

Sometimes a person’s hobbies can be detrimental to your health or draw you closer together. I look forward to finding that person whose interests don’t require me to visit flea markets or scratch the hell out of my face.

Share your thoughts on this story or similar experiences that you have had in the dating world. Good luck and keep dating!





Money can’t buy happiness or love…Final

Money can’t buy happiness or love…Final

The following day at work, all I could think about was if I had made the right decision in spending so much time with this family.  It had been just over two months since meeting this woman who connected with me just because I went to college with her deceased husband.  I wasn’t really that close with her husband back in college.  Yes, we had a few business classes together, but there was no real friendship outside the classroom.  I guess I felt bad for her and especially her children for the loss of their father.  I was close with my father growing up and couldn’t imagine losing your father at such a young age.

I have been accused of having a big heart, which sometimes got me into tricky situations that I had not thought all the way through.  This was not a typical or normal relationship, but then again does that really exist any more?  There was an uncomfortable feeling at the thought of being in a relationship that had revealed such patterns of deceit.  How could this person not know that her husband had been stealing money from his company?  Did she not question all of the extravagant gifts and the lavish lifestyle that seemed to come so quickly?  She knew her husband was a Controller that made good money, but not professional athlete type of money.

What was I doing?  Yes, the situation was weird, but this woman had been really nice to me and sought me out because I went to college in her hometown.  I decided to stop this negative thinking and realize that I was making a positive difference in someone’s life which is a good feeling.  I stepped away from my desk and made my way down the hall to attend a sales meeting.  As I am walking down the hall, my new Blackberry begins to vibrate, alerting me of an incoming call.  I look at my phone and notice that my friend is calling me.  I answer the call in a positive tone and on the other line all I can hear is someone crying.

My friend is upset again and wants to know if I can leave work early to come visit her.  She is pleading for me to come see her.  When I ask her, what is wrong all she can tell me is that she is having a bad day and really wants to see me.  I explain to her that I can’t leave work because I am walking into a sales meeting that will last most of the day.  Her response to me was, “Fine, I guess I shouldn’t have bought you that new phone, digital camera and GPS!”  Then she hung up on me.  Really?

I tried calling her back, only to keep getting her voice mail message.  Did that just happen? Doesn’t she know that I have to work?  I was blown away about what had just transpired.  Throughout the sales meeting, I went back to my initial thought process of was I doing the right thing in getting involved with a person who had recently been dealt such a large blow to her life?

After work, I drove over to her house to check on her.  When she opens her front door, I am greeted with a solemn stare and an unenthusiastic, “Hey, how are you doing?”  I notice that my friend is wearing pajamas and that her face is red with puffy eyes from crying.  I ask her if she was okay and she starts telling me about her terrible day.  Apparently, her in-laws called her to see about having the kids come to visit and the discussion quickly turned to her being blamed for their son’s death.  I gave her a hug and tell her that I am sorry that she had such a rough day.  I suggest that we open a bottle of wine and forget about what happened today.  She gave me a big smile and the rest of the evening we spent lying on the couch, drinking our wine as we laughed to re-runs of “Friends.”

The next day, I received a call from a local car dealership confirming an appointment with me to come test drive a new BMW 5 series.  I told them that they must have the wrong number because I was not looking to buy a new car.  They explained to me that the appointment had been arranged by my friend.  I told them that I needed to call them back because there seemed to be some mistake.  Immediately, I dial my friend to find what is going on.  Her voice is bubbly and she is almost giggling, she explains to me that she thinks I need an upgrade to my current vehicle and wants to buy me a new BMW.  What?!  I am shocked and tell her that I can’t accept a gift like that, she told me that I deserved it and that she wants to spoil me.  I told her that I would be over after work and we could discuss it further.

When I arrive at her house, she greets me at the door with a big hug and kiss.  She thanks me for making her feel better the previous evening after such a rough dealing with her in-laws.  I told her that I was glad that I was able to take her mind off the stress of dealing with her husband’s family.  My friend has an anxious feeling about her and it appears that she wants to tell me something.  She grabs my arm and leads me upstairs.  We walk into her bedroom and tells me to close my eyes because she has a surprise for me.  She guides me into her large walk-in closet.  I open my eyes and notice one whole side of her closet is filled with new men’s clothing.

The closet is filled with new suits, pants, shirts and ties.  All with tags still on them.  I begin to look through the clothes.  There are suits, shirts with ties from Brooks Brothers, not to mention all kinds of Banana Republic pants and shirts.  The weird thing is that she had my sizes right.  I was curious how she got my sizes correct and she told me that I when I stayed over the previous evening that she looked at my sizes from my clothes on the floor.

I ask her what’s going on, because I was starting to have an uneasy feeling come over me. She looks at me and tells me that she wants me to move in with her.  Before I can answer, she tells that she has one more surprise for me.  She takes me down the hallway to a guest bedroom.  I notice that the door is closed and now I am curious what is going to be behind this door.  My friend opens the door and quickly turns on the light to reveal a room filled with brand new Pottery Barn furniture and Hello Kitty bedding.  She tells me that the room is for my daughter and that she wants us all to be one big happy family.  Uh, what?!  She has me open up the bedroom closet and there is an entire rack of clothes for a young girl.

Now, I am starting to get a little startled about all of what has taken place throughout the day.  She wants to buy me a new luxury car and has filled two closets filled with designer clothes for both me and my daughter.  Not to mention the expensive kids’ furniture.  This is crazy!  I barely know this person.  Yes, the past two months have been nice, but we had mostly been friends.  These gestures were too much for me.  The thought process behind the gifts were very nice, but it just didn’t feel right to me.  I had been raised to work hard for what you have and don’t accept free hand outs.

My friend could sense my uneasiness about her generosity.  We walked back downstairs and sat on the couch.  I was speechless and tried the awkward process of explaining that I can not accept these gifts, but appreciated her kindness.  As I was stumbling through my explanation I could notice the sour expression that had come over my friend’s face.  She was disappointed in my initial reaction and had hoped that I would be more open to being showered with wonderful gifts.  I told her that all of this had come so sudden and needed some time to process this information.  As I left her house that evening, I will never forget the look on her face.  It was a look of pure disdain and I was concerned that our relationship would never be the same.  Little did I know that would happen sooner than later.

It was Saturday morning and I was enjoying my cup of coffee as I watched sports highlights on ESPN.  All I could think of what had happened the previous day?  Those gifts were so nice, was I stupid for just not accepting them with open arms.  Was I being close minded?  None of those thoughts made sense to me.  The main issue was that I was not comfortable with being bought such expensive items.  Do I really want to move in with this person that I had just met not too long ago?  This all seemed to be moving so fast and I felt that we needed to discuss how we could move forward in our relationship in order to make us both happy.  I decided that I needed to go visit my friend so that we could hash out our expectations on our relationship.

I dialed her number, only to be greeted by her voice mail.  Throughout the rest of the day, I tried calling her, but had no luck in reaching her.  This went on for a few days.  I didn’t leave a message every time, but when I did, I tried expressing my sincere apologies for disappointing her.  It had almost been a week since I had spoken with her.  Finally, one day I receive a call from her and as I start trying to apologize to her, she stops me to let me know that I broke her heart.  She told me that she didn’t want to see me again or remain as friends.  I told her that I was concerned for her and the kids.  She told me not to worry and wished me the best of luck in my search for a relationship.

What had happened?  Was I really in the wrong here, should I have just accepted the gifts?  It just felt weird to me that someone would think that buying someone such nice things would earn their love.  The uncomfortable feeling that I had throughout the two months of knowing this person proved to be correct.  I was taught early on to always go with your initial gut instinct!  If something doesn’t feel right, more than likely, it isn’t right.

I have shared this story with many friends and family members.  The majority are not sure that they could walk away from such nice gifts.  Some wonder why I just didn’t move in with this lady and embrace an upgrade in lifestyle.  What do you think? Would you make the same decision that I made?




Money can’t buy happiness or love…Part 2

Money can’t buy happiness or love…Part 2

While at work one morning, I received a call from my friend and she sounded very upset.  She was crying and asked me if I could come over.  I explained to her that I was busy at work and would be able to come over afterwards.  She was really upset and pleaded with me to come over. I tell her that I will try to work something out to leave work early.  I managed to conjure up a story to my boss about my daughter being sick and that I needed to take her to the doctor. I was able to leave work early and was on my way to go comfort my friend.

When I arrive at her house, I notice that she is dressed very professionally and her eye liner is smudged due to the constant stream of tears rolling down her face. I give her a hug and ask her what happened.  She walks me into her living room and we sit on her leather couch.  My friend tells me that she needs to tell me something, but is afraid of how I will react. Oh great, here we go again.  What was she planning on telling me?  I told her that she can tell me anything and that I would have an open mind.

My friend takes a deep breath and looks into my eyes.  She starts telling me about her husband and how he would go on trips to Germany for work.  He would be gone for weeks at a time, but when he returned he always surprised her with elaborate gifts.  She explained that she never had to worry about money because it seemed like her husband was doing really well in his career.  They have this nice house, fancy cars, a beautiful lake house with a boat and they belonged to a nice country club.

But six months ago, she found out that he had been embezzling money from his company.  With the help of the company’s CFO, her husband had managed to steal almost two million dollars from his employer.  When his company finally started putting the pieces together, he decided to end his life.  The morning that he ended his life, he left her a note explaining what he had done over the years.  My friend told me that for the seven years that she was married, it had all been one big lie.  He didn’t make the money she thought he did, he had been stealing from his company to make it appear as if he was successful.

I was in shock.  How did this guy that I remembered being a stellar student in college and always the teacher’s aide, not think about how his actions would affect his family?  She started explaining that the reason why she was dressed up was because she had been in court.  Over the past six months, she had been meeting with her attorney and her husband’s company to work out a deal for them to recover the money that was stolen from them.  On top of dealing with that, she had been waiting to hear from their life insurance company to see if she would receive payment since her husband committed suicide.

Fortunately, her attorney was able to keep her out of trouble since she was unaware of what her husband had done.  She told me that she agreed to sign over the lake house, boat, Porsche and the other BMW to the company so that the company could sell the items in order to help recover some of their loss.  She was devastated because she loved the lake house and boat because of the memories she had going down there with friends and family.  Her attorney was also able to make sure that my friend and her kids could  stay in their home since it was purchased before her husband started working for this company.  She had hoped that this would be it and that her husband’s company would be satisfied with this decision so that she could move on with her life.  However, her main concern was whether she would receive any of the life insurance money.  She was worried how she would provide for her children.

Later on that week, I was invited over to my friend’s house for dinner.  As soon as I walked into her house, I am greeted with a big hug and my friend said “Guess What?”  She is glowing and I can tell that she is busting to tell me some good news.  She screams out, “I’m getting paid from the life insurance!”  My friend would be getting a million dollars from the life insurance.  She could now relax and take care of her kids.  I asked her whether her husband’s company could come after the money and she said that they would not since they had finalized the deal for her to sign over the other items.  Before I know it, my friend hands me a glass of champagne and the stress that she was feeling earlier in the week had disappeared.

After dinner, my friend looks at me and tells me that she wants me to help her enjoy this new money.  I ask her what she means, so she starts telling about trips that she wants to take and items that she wants to buy.  I told her that it all sounds nice and that I would be willing to go on any trip with her.  Then out of the blue, she tells me that she wants to transition our friendship into a dating relationship.  I explain to her that I am concerned with her still dealing with the loss of her husband.  She looks at me and tells me again about felling she had lived a lie the past seven years.  According to her, she was ready to move on and wanted to be with me.  Before I knew it, we were embraced in our first kiss.  After the kiss, I felt a little strange, possibly guilty.  All kinds of thoughts were running through my mind.  What had I done?  Was this the right thing to do?

To be continued…Stay tuned for the final part of this dating experience

Money can’t buy happiness or love…

Money can’t buy happiness or love…

There’s an old saying “Money can’t buy happiness.”  Boy, did I find that out the hard way.  Here’s a situation that I found myself in when I got involved with a rich widow who tried to buy her happiness and my love.  It was a lesson that I will never forget.

It had been over three years since my divorce and so far my dating adventures had led me to believe that finding a quality person to build a rewarding relationship would take a lot of time and patience.  There I was, back online searching for a new “Mrs. Right.”  Who would I meet this time?  Was I doing the right thing in searching for a relationship online or should I just let fate take control?  At this point, fate had decided to not show up to the party so I was left with searching online profiles of single women.

Within a week of having my online profile posted again, I received an email from a lady inquiring about the university that I had attended.  This lady was from the same small town where my college was located and mentioned in her email the names of people she knew that attended the same university.  She asks me if I know them.  Of course, I knew them, I attended a small university with an enrollment of 2,500 students.  Everybody knew everybody at this small college.  She asked if we could meet for dinner because she didn’t have many friends in the area.  I noticed that she had not listed in her profile whether she was divorced, currently separated or had never married.  Oh well, I guess I would soon find out.

The next night during dinner we chatted about the small town she was from and the friends we shared.  She wanted to know why I had chosen the college and I explained to her that I received an athletic scholarship to play soccer for the school.  She explained to me that she had relocated to my hometown with her husband when he got transferred with his job.  She and her husband grew up together near my college.  Did she say, husband?  I thought to myself, “Wait just a damn minute, I am not looking to interfere in someone’s marriage.”

After dinner, she tells me that her husband attended the college and asked me if I knew him.  As soon as she mentioned his name, I told her that we had been in several business classes together.  She told me that the reason she wanted to meet with me because her husband had died six months ago and left behind two young children.  All of sudden, a sense of sadness came over me.  They had a four year-old son and an eighteen month-old daughter.  My heart was broken for these kids.

She asked me if I would do her a favor and I told her I would be willing to help out in any way possible.  She wanted me to come visit her son and play with him since he was having a hard time with the death of his father.  Her son had developed nightmares and would ask when he would see his dad.  She thought I might be able to help her son through this difficult time.  She suggested that I throw the baseball with him and help him build his train set.  Those were two things that his father would do with him.  Of course I would, I told her that would not be a problem.

The next day I arrive at the address she gave me.  It is a nice large home in a golf course community.  I remember her telling me the previous night, that her husband had been a Controller for a large German company that manufactured industrial equipment.  Apparently, he had done rather nice for himself and left behind a beautiful house. As I approach the house, I notice a BMW in the driveway. The garage door is open and there parked next to another BMW is a Porsche 911, very nice.  I ring the doorbell and my new friend opens the door.  The house is just as lovely on the inside, filled with expensive furniture and accessories.

Throughout the next month, I spend several days visiting with her son.  We played trains, threw baseball and I even managed to get him to kick a soccer ball.  It seemed like I was making a difference in his life and I felt good about the decision I had made.  At the same time, I was getting to know his mom better.  We had developed a good friendship.  There had been no physical interaction between the two of us.  I felt that would have been inappropriate since she was still dealing with the loss of her husband.  We were enjoying each other’s companionship and I liked spending time with her son.

During my previous dating adventures, I had not introduced any of the women I met to my daughter.  I never wanted to confuse her, she was young and I had not met anyone worthy of meeting her.  Since this woman had become such a good friend, I didn’t have any problems with introducing my daughter to her or her kids.  On the weekends that I had my daughter, we would go over to visit so she could play with the kids.

One night after dinner, my friend and I were in the kitchen cleaning up while our kids were upstairs playing.  She tells me how nice it has been to have me around and that she appreciates me spending time with her son.  I told her that I have enjoyed getting to know her and playing with her son.  She hands me a present and tells me that it is something to show her gratitude for helping her son.  I told her that she didn’t have to buy me any gift and that I was happy to help out.  I open up the gift bag to reveal a Garmin GPS.  I had just told her a few days ago that I was planning on buying one, what a thoughtful gift.

The following week, I am visiting my friend and she comments on my outdated cell phone and wanted to know why I had not updated it.  I explained that even though I wanted a new phone, I didn’t need one and wasn’t looking to spend money on things that I didn’t need.  She then begins to ask whether I have a digital camera to take pictures of my daughter so that I can download them to my computer to send to my family.  I start wondering where she is going with these questions.

Before I know it, my friend is handing me two presents.  The first is the latest Blackberry smart phone and the second is a Sony digital camera.  I told her that I can’t accept these gifts and she tells me that they are tokens of her appreciation for the time that my daughter and I have spent with her family.  I thank her for the nice gifts, but wonder if this will start to become a trend.  I was not doing any of this for gifts, I was enjoying her company and getting to know her kids.

To be continued…



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