Valentine’s Day is very special to ProfitGeeks because it is the weekend it all began. To Rick and I, Valentine’s Day is our everything Anniversary. The anniversary of our relationship, our business, the day our new lives began and I’d like to share it briefly with you. If you want to skip straight to the featured article “7 Easy Website Tweaks To Get More Customers”, go for it, no offense taken. For the rest of you sappy romantics, lets jump back to exactly 3 years ago.
It was Friday night and while everyone was streaming out of the office looking forward to Valentine’s plans, I was packing up the few things on my desk for good. I hadn’t been the least bit surprised when my boss had called me into the office; They had been laying staff off for months. But that didn’t make it any bit easier to swallow. I was a 22 year old, recently divorced single mom of 2 boys, ages 3 and 1, both who were just being diagnosed with developmental delays. Even now, I can’t draw the exact words or the emotions, but I can say that I felt extinguished. The fire, drive or motivation was gone; I had zero desire to go through the job hunt circus.
I picked up my boys from daycare and began the drive to their dad’s for the weekend. I couldn’t stand the idea of moping all weekend so I called a co-worker, I called Rick.
Rick had tried to be friendly with me in the office, offering advice when I had been in the midst of custody negotiations. He was 45 and had 2 tween daughters that he got to see on the weekends. I felt bad for being stand-offish so I had agreed to hangout on Valentine’s Day strictly on a friendly basis. But in that cold, lonely moment, Sunday seemed too far off so I gave him a call, told him what happened and I asked if I could tag along on his visit with his daughters the next day. He graciously invited me along skiing and offered to pay my lift ticket.
In a strange turn of events, Rick’s daughter’s had both taken a spill before I arrived and so my 1st time “hanging out” was in the Medical Hut with a co-worker I barely knew, two injured girls I’d never met and their aunt who shot me dirty looks the whole time. Awkward. After the girls had been treated and were on the way home with their mom, Rick and I grabbed a bite to eat before doing a few runs. We talked about the awkward afternoon and he explained the aunt probably thought I was his girlfriend, to which I laughed uproariously. How ridiculous, right? We parted ways agreeing to still hang out the next afternoon, Valentine’s Day.
I arrived at Rick’s place while he was still out picking up some snacks for our netflix movie, Benny & Joon (true Johnny Depp fans will remember this one). He pulled up 5 minutes later with an apple pie with a misshapen gel heart. I swallowed hard. Hadn’t I made it perfectly clear this was strictly platonic? What was with the heart? I decided it would be best to ignore it, I was probably making a big deal out of nothing. I had made evening plans with another friend so we watched the movie and then I left.
In another strange turn of the events, the evening plans I had feel through. It was barely 5pm on Valentine’s Sunday and I still wasn’t eager to go back to my empty apartment so I just drove back to Rick’s house. I’m not sure what I was thinking, I didn’t call ahead. Rick opened the door clad in PJs, giant moose slippers, a Guitar Hero guitar strapped across his chest and the most bewildered look.
It was like candid camera without the camera team. I asked if I could come in and explained my abrupt change of plans. We spent the rest of the evening watching YouTube recordings of my favorite novella, as I half translated for Rick. At the end of the evening, I think we were both pleasantly surprised at how much we had enjoyed each others company over the weekend. It was the beginning of our 100 Days together.
He made me dinner the following night and then I reciprocated on Tuesday. We saw each other every single day and those first dates were the best; at home dance parties, scrabble, it was weeks before we had an out of the home date night. Roughly 3 weeks after I had been let go, Rick was laid off also. This was the defining moment in our relationship. We had spent an overkill amount of time together, but even so, it had only been 3 weeks. Although the word “love” hadn’t been thrown around (divorce can make you skeptical) we knew deep in our hearts this was forever so despite the unusual circumstances, we moved in together.
Our relationship began in a way I’ve never heard anyone else experience before. 100 consecutive days together from day 1. We had a big party on Day 100; I put 100 candles on a cake and the cake nearly melted! It was around the 60 day mark that we decided to start a business together, coupling his web development background with my marketing and business management experience. It was around 130 days that Rick proposed. A month after, Rick’s mother whom we had been caring for, passed away from lung cancer. And a few months later we bought our first house. We got married on that property a year from that point and last month our first child together turned 1.
While it is a sappy love story, it’s our real story and we hope it is an encouraging one to those overcoming hardship. It is so important to know that both love and opportunity come in all shapes, sizes, ages and experiences. Today, whether your Valentine is your spouse, child or BFF, we wish you a day full of love.
Erica & Rick