Wednesday, September 22, 2010

If You Want to Marry Me....Stop Hitting Me!!!!

Sarasota in November is like....heaven. The sun is still bright, but the heat leaves town. Cooler breezes make the palm trees sway. Days off from work are spent driving around with the windows rolled down, or with sliding glass doors left wide open. That was the setting for the big talk about the "M" word. When women mentioned the "M" would sweat and fall to pieces! All over the globe, the "M" word had made guys stammer and come down with a bad case of the flop sweats. The "M" word question was about to show up on a beautiful Sarasota Sunday in October 1989.

Denise and I were sitting on the floor reading. She looked up from her magazine and asked,"Do you think we'll ever get married?". This question came out of left field. She broke the silence with that life-changing question. "Sure", I replied, patting myself on the back for coming up with a positive response on such short notice. What do you think was Denise's follow up question? After I gave her the "thumbs up" answer she asked, "When?". I rolled my eyes back and forth and declared, "I dunno know". (Roll flashback video)

I was involved with a gorgeous brunette named Sandy before I met Denise. We were really serious for about 9 months. Sandy lived like she was waiting for Robin Leach to interview her for "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". She drove a Jaguar and lived in a high rise condo in Philly. Sandy loved fancy restaurants and society parties. One Sunday morning she asked me if we were ever getting married? Seriously. I tipped down my newspaper and said," Nope". That was the first thing that came to my mind. I didn't want to get married to her...or any other woman. Well, no sooner than I answered with a negative response, Sandy came flying at me with her hands in the attack position. She grabbed the front of my shirt and starting screaming. "Why are we dating if we aren't getting married?", she yelled. And I mean YELLED. She was crying, punching, screaming, kicking, etc. "WOW", I thought to myself. "This is not the way to convince somebody to marry you". I grabbed my stuff and ran out the door, and never looked back. BTW, Sandy ending up calling me in '98. She was divorced, had a couple of drinks and wondered how I was doing.

After the "Sandy" flashback played in my head, I told Denise I wanted to marry her...but I didn't know when. "How about next year?", she asked. "How about in 5 years?", I countered. "How about next year", she asked again. So basically, no matter what future date I could throw out, Denise wanted to get married the following year. OK.....done deal. We agreed to get married the following November in 1990. I leaned over to kiss her, and then we both resumed reading. That was fairly pain free.

The agreement that I just entered into didn't really hit me until we made it official, and went.....RING SHOPPING!

Monday, September 6, 2010

3 Quickies (Stories)

Before I get to the story of our engagement, I just had to share these 3 little gems!

Denise and I were keeping busy and having fun on the nation's Gulf Coast! She was looking for a job in Sarasota, and I was focusing on my radio show. Coming around the corner....her birthday! I made sure to get her a really nice present, make my famous pasta w/homemade garlic sauce for dinner, and run to the supermarket bakery for a cake with candles! Dinner was a big success and Denise loved her gift (earrings). I went into the kitchen, lit the candles and came out with a big New York style cheesecake for dessert. Denise looked at me and started to cry. "What's wrong?", I asked. "I don't like cheesecake!", she replied. I thought everybody from Philly or New York liked cheesecake. It just upset Denise that she could be spending the rest of her life with a guy who didn't know her likes/dislikes in the dessert world. BTW, we both joke about ordering cheesecake when we're out to dinner...

Denise thought it would fun to come with me one morning and watch me work at the radio station. UGH! She's not the first person to float that idea. Radio is still one of the few places where people are in awe at the production and delivery of a morning show. 95% of people abandon the idea when they find out that "wake-up" is at 4am! I was worried, but the little trooper was up and ready to rock in the wee-hours of the morning. We jumped into my Toyota Corolla and sped towards my pre-radio station stop; the 7-11 convenience store. I couldn't start the day without my large HOT coffee, newspaper and Hostess fruit pie. Denise and I pulled up to the station at 4:45am. I asked her to hold my coffee while I got the paper from inside the car. She put the 20oz cup of joe on the bumper of the Corolla. When I shut the car door, the coffee (IN SLOW MOTION) began to fall towards earth!!!!! We stared while gravity stole my piping hot addiction. I gave Denise the meanest look EVER! Seriously... I gave her the look of danger!! She actually drove (stick shift) my car back to the 7-11, and returned with a fresh cup. That incident occured in '89, and Denise has never again suggested going with me to work.

And finally, in '89 the founder of one of America's largest chains of restaurants had listened to my morning show and became an instant fan. He (no name) reached out to the radio station and wanted to meet for dinner. At the time his restaurant (guess!) was only on location #3. I brought Denise to join us and things started out OK. He was a fan of radio and began listing his favorite stations and personalities. I was feeling very insecure about working in the very small radio market of Sarasota.....having just been in the VERY large city of Philadelphia. I started getting edgy every time he (still not telling) mentioned jocks in larger cities. In fact, I started bad-mouthing them....for no good reason! He couldn't mention a single radio personality w/o me calling them names. In fact, it got downright uncomfortable. When dinner was over, Denise and I got into the car, and the can of whoop-ass was opened. She blasted me for being such an insecure jerk. I remember her yelling like it was yesterday....AND..she was right. I learned a valuable lesson that night. And I never heard from that restaurant guy ever again. BUT....we occasionally eat at the concept he created. There are locations all over Houston...and the entire country!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Get Your Own Pizza!!!

Things were going GREAT in Sarasota, Florida. I was getting into the routine of hosting my own morning show, making new friends, spending time at the beach and no longer dealing with cold Philly winters. February '89 was gonna get a lot better once my "honey" arrived.

Denise resigned from her job at the radio station, and couldn't wait to get to Florida. Seriously...she really couldn't wait! The drive from Philadelphia to Sarasota takes a normal driver about 18 hours. Most people break the trip into 2 parts....usually spending the night in South Carolina at a well-lit motel off Interstate 95. Not Denise! She decided to drive straight through...with out stopping for rest. And this non-stop drive-a-thon was performed by a single woman WITHOUT a cell phone. I went to sleep one night and expected to see her the following day. There was a knock on my apartment door around 4AM. A familiar voice was on the other side. There she stood....exhausted from the driving the jam-packed Nissan Pulsar 1,110 miles. We hugged. She showered and went to sleep...and didn't wake up for 15 hours.

Denise and I settled into the tiny apartment I chose by myself 2 months earlier. The rent was only $440 per month for the fairly new 700 sq ft unit. The furniture was purchased from a recently divorced co-worker who needed money. In fact, the sofa was only $50!! Why such a deal? Well, the four legs were missing from the bottom of the sofa. I didn't care. It kept our butts off the floor. To this day I wonder who had the four sofa legs? In just a few days Denise was able to put her decorating skills to work...and the apartment starting looking like a $500 a month unit.

Things were going well....until the infamous "Bikini Volleyball Story".

I was asked to host an event on Siesta Key beach that featured Hooters waitresses playing volleyball against any willing opponents. Keep in mind it was for charity, and the women wore string bikinis. I brought Denise to the tournament and went about performing the usual host duties. The problem was...I slid back to my old ways. I was staring at all the bikini-clad players....and not watching Denise. In fact, 3 different guys tried to pick up my girlfriend, and I didn't even notice. I was so infatuated with the "game", I wouldn't have noticed if my shorts were on fire! The piece de'resistance? Denise put down her book, got up from her lounge chair and asked me to please get her a piece of pizza. I pointed to the hospitality tent and said," It's over there. Get it yourself".

Steam shot from her ears like a cartoon character. She just quit her job and relocated to a new state for a guy who would rather watch bikini babes than get her something to eat. The old Sam was back in town. Today, I would fly a plane full of gasoline through hell to make her comfortable...but on the beach in '89...that wasn't the case. The argument that ensued was the biggest ever. She wanted to end our relationship and move back to Philly. Luckily, she stayed with me in Sarasota. I guess Denise just couldn't handle the thought of leaving the beaches, Manatees and that adorable $50 leg-less sofa!

Coming next....."Do you think we'll ever get married?"