This is part twenty-seven of the Homey and Me Love Story.
On Saturday Afternoon, around 12 PM or so (maybe it was 1), four days after giving Homey my number, my phone rang.
I wasn’t doing anything in particular at the moment. I was just watching a movie or hanging out with the girls. I excused myself from them, and went to my bedroom to talk. To say that I was nervous or excited is the understatement of the century.
It was a relatively awkwardish-nervous conversation, and I can’t remember how, but the conversation turned to Greg Ostertag (former NBA Player for the Utah Jazz), and how he had a tattoo of Fred Flintstone on his calf.
As soon as Homey mentioned it, while laughing, I told him, “I’m so glad that you know about Greg Ostertag’s Fred Flintstone tattoo.”
“AHHHHH!!! I hate that I know that! I don’t even care for Greg Ostertag?!”
[More of me laughing at Homey ensued].
We couldn’t continue on in this vein as Homey had to go–he was getting ready to play tennis with his brother. And although the phone conversation had an “awkwardish-nervous” tone to it, I didn’t feel really embarrassed or worried after. Instead, I was happy, breathed a sigh of relief, and I knew that the next time we spoke (which I hoped would be soon), we’d be able to feel more comfortable and free to speak.
I texted Freckles.
“He called me.”
“He called me!”
“I know! I’m just…how was it?!???”
“Well…he’s funny. It was a short conversation. But…yeah!”
“So. When will you talk to him next?”
“I have no idea.”
“This is crazy!”
“I know…and all I can say is, he better be on Verizon…let’s just say that If he is on Verizon, then it’s probably meant to be. ;)”
Throughout the next 24 hours, I was in heaven. Not only had we spoken on the phone, but we had texted a few times, too.
On Sunday, I went to church, and my bishop told me about a Single-Adult Fireside–Elder Bednar would be speaking. It would be on during the middle of the Super-bowl, but I didn’t really care much about the super-bowl, and I love Elder Bednar so I told him to count me in.
After church, I got a text from Homey…We started texting back and forth. After a few messages, I asked:
“Hey…just curious, who is your cell phone provider?”
[Fist pump!] “Sweet. Me, too.”
With this news, I felt like I didn’t need to hold back, the texts, the phone calls, it could all flow freely.
A while later, the Superbowl began, and we were texting pretty much constantly.
“Don’t mention a single thing about the game because we are watching it on our DVR on a delay.” Homey stated.
“So you don’t want to know that the Colts just got a touchdown?” I teased.
“hahah. just kidding. That’s cool.”
“I’m actually watching the game with my dad–the Silver Fox.”
“Ha! I’m at my mom’s house. And I’m only marginally watching the game. Mostly I’m just here to eat.”
“My parents had me over, so I could cook.”
“What are you making?”
“Pasta and red sauce.”
“Nice. I need to get some.”
“Come on over.”
“But if you do, bring a cannoli.”
“Why don’t I just get a cannoli, and you bring the pasta here.”
“Let’s meet…in the middle.”
“So…what…Omaha, Nebraska then?”
And yeah…it went on like that for a while, until I sent a text, “So, I have to go for a while–I’ve got another engagement.”
“Another engagement, during the Superbowl?”
“Well…yeah…I’m actually going to a fireside.”
“The one with Elder Bednar?” I was impressed that he knew the Fireside I was talking about.
“I’ll be watching that one later…Thanks to DVR.”
How I wanted a DVR right then.
So, I went to the fireside, and I was feeling a little bummed because as pointless as the texts were, I really wanted to keep talking with Homey. I got to the church, and it was just me, the Bishop’s wife, and the Bishop. “I had a feeling that this fireside might have less attendance.” He mentioned, with a smile.
We watched the Fireside, and Elder Bednar’s talk was amazing. (You can watch it here.) After the fireside, I chatted with my Bishop, and told him about Homey for the first time.
“Well…Bishop…I’ve started talking to someone online.”
“Really?” He said, with a smile.
“Is he nearby?”
“Nope. Mesa, AZ.”
“You’re right…That’s not nearby.”
“We’re just talking right now, though. Nothing really serious. I think he’s pretty cool. We’ve started with emailing for little while, and now we’re just starting to talk on the phone.”
“Well, keep me updated on this.” He said, and then we all went home.
“K. I’m back.” I texted to Homey. “What did I miss?”
“Well, the halftime show was interesting…Prince came out playing a guitar in the shape of his name…How was the fireside?”
“It was…interesting…Elder Bednar came out playing a guitar in the shape of his name.”
[Just so you know, neither Homey nor I can watch or listen to Elder Bednar without thinking of his imaginary BEDNAR guitar…]
After a while, I received a text: “Can I call you a little later tonight?”
“Sure…call me late, though. Like around 8:30 your time.”
“Will you be up?”
“I don’t want to call you too late.”
“Don’t worry about it. I need get a few things done first.”
“Okay. I’ll call you then.”
So, before the Superbowl even ended, I packed the girls up and went home. I wanted to have our bedtime routine done before I got a call from Homey. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to talk to him or take care of the girls if I was trying to do them both simultaneously.
My timing worked out perfectly. I was able do everything I needed to get my kids and myself ready for bed before I got the phone call.
Homey called, and we talked.
And talked and talked and talked.
No lie: We talked on the phone for six hours. Six hours.
I have never spoken on the phone with someone that long. But we talked, and laughed, talked, and laughed some more. In fact, there was one point in the conversation where we were both laughing so hard we were crying. I didn’t want the conversation to end, but it was about SIX AM and I could only sleep for an hour before going to work! (I have to admit, I was so excited, it was hard for me to even sleep that hour.) On the way to work, I called Freckles.
“I’m not tired, even though I should be.”
“Stay up late watching the game?”
“I watched the game, but it isn’t why I stayed up late.”
“What are you saying?”
“I talked to Homey for six hours last night?”
“I talked to Homey until 6AM!”
“How are you awake now?”
“Because I have to be. I’m going to work. Keep talking to me, so I don’t fall asleep at the wheel…Don’t worry, I’ve got my hands-free set on.”
“Oh…and I forgot to mention. He’s on Verizon.”
“You’re gonna get married.” Freckles started teasing in a sing-song way.
“Not so fast…I haven’t met him yet.”
“I know. I can’t believe I like a guy that I haven’t met.”
Despite my lack of sleep, Monday flew by. I was happy all day long, then went and played volleyball. After volleyball, I kept thinking about Homey. The high I had been experiencing all day long was starting to wane. I looked at my phone, willing it to ring. I got home, started changing, keeping my phone within two feet, hoping it would ring. And I realized, I talked to him on Saturday. Then Sunday for six hours. He called me both times…I doubt he’s calling tonight.
I started getting ready for bed, but I couldn’t go to sleep.
I was calling Homey.
And he answered after the first ring…and so began our second six hour long conversation.
The next morning, I went to work, to find another email, too…
“CCCCCatania, ok…so I should probably try to sleep, but I know I have too much on my mind right now. I honestly can’t believe that we have talked on the phone for so long the last couple of nights…my first thought is Wow, I hope Catania doesn’t get bored of me. Then I remember who I am and that it is just not possible. And about now should be the time that I tell you that the one thing I NEVER pray for is humility. Cause I already have so much…;)
It went on for a while.
I was on cloud nine. forget cloud nine. I was on cloud 159.
One evening, after a class I was teaching at the church, I was speaking with my Relief Society President*. She always took great interest in me and my life, and she really was (and is, for that matter) a great woman. She asked me how things were going, and I told her:
“You know…it’s funny. I met a guy online, and I think that I’m interested in him.”
“Great! Where does he live?”
“That’s the thing. He lives in Mesa, AZ. It is all kind of strange–to meet online. We have been emailing a while, and now we have started talking on the phone. Anyways, I’m not sure what will come of it, and I know that meeting online seems really strange, but I have to admit that getting to know Homey has been fun.”
“You know, Catania, a lot of people are meeting online these days. It isn’t a bad thing at all. You just need to be careful.”
“That’s true…although, I’ve realized that I need to be careful even when meeting people in real life!” I said with a chuckle.
“Exactly. Staying close to the Spirit is so important. There are no real guarantees unless you follow the Spirit.”
“I totally agree.”
“However, I have an idea for you. You ought to get the Bishop to call his Bishop. He’s LDS, right?”
“Yeah, we met on an LDS website.”
“So, you should just have the Bishop call his Bishop. Mention the idea to him. If Homey’s a good guy, then he probably has some of the same concerns you do, and having your Bishop talk to his will bring him some peace. On the other hand, if Homey is uneasy or reluctant about the idea, then cut him off right away.”
It was a good idea. I told her so, and then found the Bishop right away–letting him know of the plan. He loved it. After I got home, I called Homey for another marathon phone call. (These, in addition to loooong emails were happening on a daily basis). During the course of the phone call, I told him about the idea–to have my Bishop call his Bishop.
“That’s a great idea, Catania. I don’t have my Bishop’s phone number right now, but I can get it to you.”
“Sounds good. And I’ll email you my Bishop’s contact information.”
I was happy that he was responsive to the idea.
Here is where I’m going to take a break to get preachy. Having my Bishop call Homey’s Bishop was SUCH a good idea. You single ladies out there, people besides your parents and friends really care about you. It may not seem like it, but your Bishops, your Relief Society Presidents, others who lead and serve you love you and care for you. They are blessed with the ability to do so as a part of their callings. I would say that in the majority of cases, if you got your Bishop involved in this way, they would be happy to help. It was nice to have a third-party opinion of Homey–especially because I couldn’t get one in my own circumstances. We were separated by many thousands of miles. And in a single phone call, my Bishop could talk to his Bishop, and I got some reassuring news about this guy-Homey-that I really was falling for.
“Well, Catania, I had a nice conversation with Homey’s Bishop last night.” My Bishop told me one Sunday at church.
“You did?!” I was elated. Homey and I had exchanged information about a week before, and we had continued the rapid pace of communication.
“Yeah. Homey sounds like a good guy. He is responsible in his calling, and he a very faithful home teacher.”
“Great!” I responded. I have to be honest. I was already expecting to hear good things. I had a good feeling about Homey, just based on our conversations. But it was really relieving to get a completely unbiased opinion of Homey.
“So…he lives in Mesa?” The Bishop asked. “Tell me more about him.”
“Yeah. He lives in Mesa. It is far away. But he used to live out here, in New Jersey, crazy enough. He was working at PriceWaterhouse Coopers in NY. Then he decided to move out to AZ so he could golf more.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Well, with him all the way out in AZ, I’m guessing that you two don’t get to see each other very much.”
“Not really…I still haven’t even met him, but with the way that we write and talk to each other, I already feel so close to him.”
“It’s not a bad thing to be far apart. I dated my wife only a few times before I was about to study abroad. Before I left, this is going to sound crazy because I only knew her 3 weeks, I told her I felt like I was supposed to marry her.”
I was amazed…three weeks.
“We didn’t get married yet, but she agreed to keep dating me long-distance, seriously. We really developed a deep relationship through letters and communication–without some of the physical distractions that comes from being so close in proximity.” I understood what he meant, and I felt that my own experience was echoing his…at least with getting to know Homey without some of the physical distractions. He continued, “Will you be seeing Homey anytime soon?”
“Well, his mom works for USAirways, so I think that he’ll try to get out here next month.”
“Make sure you keep me updated on that!” the Bishop remarked.
Homey and I continued on our pattern of nightly marathon phone calls (probably 5-6 hours most of the time…crazy, I know. It is almost embarrassing, but hey…that was the way that we were able to court!)
Before Homey, the hardest part of my day was the time period between my girls’ bedtime and when I fell asleep. The house was so quiet. I would read scriptures, pray, paint, watch an episode or two of Arrested Development. But mostly, I did whatever I had to do to ward off the discouraging feeling of loneliness. During those nightly hours, it was hard to ignore the thoughts that haunted me. It was hard to keep from feeling a little depressed about being alone. Before Homey, those hours were hard, but I had become relatively effective at distracting myself from the negative thoughts.
After Homey and I started talking, I began looking forward to 9PM. By then, the girls were in bed, I had done any needed chores, taken a shower, and had gotten ready for bed/a phone call with Homey. Even though I was really curious about meeting Homey in real life, the emails and phone conversations were so fulfilling, I looked forward to every moment I could spend talking with homey, reading what he wrote, writing him, texting him, or communicating with him in any possible method.
Not only was I looking forward to my previously lonely nights, Homey was starting to put off other social engagements so he could talk to me, instead. One night, Homey decided to ditch all of his friends for their weekly get together to watch The Office. Instead, we just talked on the phone. I apologized for making him miss out on hanging with his friends. He assured me that it was his choice. Later, he put it this way:
“I’m getting tired of my friends, too…they just don’t do it anymore now that I know you and know how totally radically we get along. I’d prefer to just communicate with you, and I seriously LOVE my friends (maybe they can listen in while I talk to you…;)”
There’s so much that I could write in this story. There is so much that I don’t even know what to say. All I know is that I was happy and amazed that I could be so happy with a person that I had yet to meet. Homey and I knew so much about each other. And I loved talking with him. The physical pressure was off, and we were able to be as real as possible. It felt pretty risk free, too. If something happened, and I decided that I didn’t like Homey anymore, then all I had to do was stop emailing/calling. We didn’t live in the same state, we wouldn’t “run into” each other. It isn’t like we were hanging out, and if things stopped between us, I’d have to figure out something new to do on a Friday night. We were free to be ourselves. I’m not suggesting that every relationship be a long-distance online relationship, but I am suggesting that Heavenly Father knew me, personally and what I needed. He knew that because of my prior experiences, I had trust issues, and I’d need to know a person the way I was getting to know Homey. And for us, this happened through the blessing of modern-day communication across thousands of miles.
To end this excessively long post, I’ll write a few more little things. This will help to set the stage of what will happen later.
One – Excessive Communication is A-OK!
“it’s funny. I can talk to you for like 3500 hours, text you, and write you emails, and I’m not getting sick of you at all. (did that come out wrong?) seriously, though. Usually, I get sick of people after 35 minutes.” (Me to Homey, Feb 8, 2007).
“it’s funny. I can talk to you for like 3500 hours, text you, and write you emails, and I’m not getting sick of you at all. (did that come out wrong?) HAHAHA NO. IT DIDN’T COME OUT WRONG. I FEEL EXACTLY THE SAME WAY. And the funny part is, I would even phrase it the same way ;)” (Homey to Me, Feb 9, 2007)
Two – Playing for Keeps
During the movie Talladega Nights, Ricky Bobby tells Jean Girard, I play for keeps!
After watching this movie way too many times, I started adopting it as my dating mantra. I hated how single people played all these games when dating. Forget that. I play for keeps! Not only did I adopt this mantra, I repeated it as often and as annoyingly as possible. I even told it to Homey on several (thousand) occasions.
“So, since I am now playing for keeps…I decided that I like you. It’s official. And was unofficial already, but it is definitely now official. And I’d rather just get it out of the way really fast. I’m sure you already knew this, but just want to tell you in email format. 😉 … These past few days/week have been really amazing for me. I hate to profess my feelings in an email, but hey–it’s really late, so why not? 😉 We are so much fun together…I’ve never known anyone like you and I seriously and honestly 100% am SO excited about things right now…I konw that right now Heavenly Father is OK with my plan to get to know you as best as possible—I’ve never been more sure of something in my life, and you have no idea how happy it makes me. (My belly is all warm as I’m writing this…and that’s not just because my laptop is blowing hot air onto my stomach…)” – Homey to Me, Feb 12, 2007
“Okay, so, I’m also playing for keeps. (it’s just what I do). I think that I should let you know some of what I’m feeling. (I love expressing my feelings in the warm, personable, charming realm of email!!! haha) (no, I don’t mind, really…I don’t mind at all. And I’m really grateful that you wrote all of what you did, too.) It’s awesome because I’m also VERY VERY VERY VERY happy with everything that is happening between us. It is kind of mystifying to me, that we could have so much in common. I love that. I also feel like I’m supposed to pursue this relationship with you. No, it’s not even “supposed”–that makes it feel forced. It’s more or less like, DUH, Catania. HOMEY IS SUPER DUPER RAD. I’ve never met anyone like you, and I’m really stoked about our friendship so far…I really think that we were put on this earth to be happy…so…i FIRMLY believe we were put on this earth to be happy. Even though this is a veil of tears, trials, and hardships, the Lord wants us to have a good time, too. He wants us to smile. He constantly tells us to “be of good comfort” or “be of good cheer.” So, I try to do everything I can to be happy. In general, I would classify myself as a very happy person. Ever since I’ve started really talking to you, I”m at least 12,136,549,165,432,064,951,356,981,651 times happier…I feel that Heavenly Father has heard hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of my prayers, and while he has always answered my prayers, I can see that he is answering them now in a way that brings me more happiness than I ever could have expected.” – Me to Homey, Feb 12, 2007
Three – Why-even with Homey 2,000 miles away–Valentines day 2007 (in which I was snowed into my house with my kids) was the best one ever…
On Feb 13, it had started snowing. At about 6 AM, I got a call that my office was closed due to snow. After another marathon conversation with Homey, I snuggled into my bed, getting some much-needed rest.
A little later on in the day, I texted Homey, telling him that I wasn’t working, due to snow. He was in Mesa, and loved to rub in the fact that it was 70 and sunny.
A few minutes later, I got a phone call.
“Not today. That’s the only good part about snow!”
“Wait, does that mean you can’t get to your email?”
“No email for me today.”
“Darn it! I wrote you something, and I want you to read it.”
“Well, now I want to read it, too.”
“You know, you can just read it to me.”
“No…I can’t. That’s okay. Let’s just talk for a while. Then you’ll be able to read it tomorrow.”
“You can’t?…Yes you can.”
I goaded him for a while longer, and he finally relented.
He read me a beautiful, funny, sweet, and super-mushy email. I was so happy, I could cry, jump, and everything at the same time. And I was just amazed as I began to realize that I was falling in love with someone I hadn’t even met in person, yet I knew him intimately. This Valentine’s day there were no chocolates, no roses, no diamonds…There was no fancy dinner or kisses good night, but none of it mattered. Being alone, snowed into my house, but knowing that Homey was there–on the other side of the country–feeling the same way I did was the best Valentine’s Day gift I’ve ever received.
I needed to meet him.
*In the Mormon Church, we have an organization for women called the Relief Society. A volunteer from the group is called to lead it in each parish of our church. The title is: Relief Society President. Usually, a woman will serve a few years as a Relief Society President. Every woman over the age of 18 is a member of the Relief Society. You can find out more here.