I met James at work in December 1999. We were working for the Caterpillar dealership in Portland. I was doing double duty as a staff accountant and the payroll clerk and he was a parts writer, meaning he sold parts over the counter. He was working for one of our divisions that was down the street from our main building and the decision had been made to sell that division.
The employment status of those employees was up in the air and James wanted to get on with our credit union while he still had a job, thinking he wouldn't have one for much longer. This is how we started talking. As the payroll clerk, I was the company liaison to the credit union and handled the paperwork on our end. We were able to do all the paperwork through inter-company mail, so I didn't meet James face-to-face through all of this but I did fall in love with his voice. I asked the other staff accountant if he knew James and he said no. I said I had never seen him but I could sit and listen to him read the phone book.
James and two others ended up being transferred to other departments within the company. Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until the last minute to dispose of the fixed assets of the sold division. (That was also due in part to my hatred of our fixed asset software). I was down to the wire, and of the three employees that were retained, James was the only one who was there that day that could tell me what had happened to the assets-whether they had been sold in the fire sale, given away (which is where the display case that holds all my recipe books came from-he had snagged that), transferred to another department or just tossed. That is how I actually met him. We had fun going through the assets and the next day, he came over to my desk to see if I had everything I needed. I said I did and thanked him again for his help.
A few days later he saw me in the hall and said hello. He asked how my Christmas had been and after talking about that, he asked if I had any plans for New Year's Eve. I said I hadn't made any yet. He then asked how I would feel about spending New Year's Eve with a bunch of people I didn't know. He was going to a party at his old roommate's and said I was more than welcome to join him.
I rang in 2000 at a party with a bunch of people I didn't know wearing a pair of size 8 pants. I say this about the pants because I was not a size 8 at the time and hadn't been for a couple of years. So, when I tried on these pants in a 10 and they didn't fit and I had to get the 8s, I was estatic. Even if the rest of the evening sucked, at least I was wearing skinny girl jeans. I got rid of the pants years ago but still have the sweater I wore with them, which I have only worn a few times.
Obviously, the evening didn't suck. I rang in 2000 with a stranger who would come to be the man I would plan to spend the rest of my life with and who would spend the rest of his life with me. Happy Anniversary, Honey. I love and miss you with all my heart.