I Knocked Up My High School Girlfriend When We Were 36 The Mostly Trueish Story of Finding Love Where I Always Knew It Would Be

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Loco Love

Mr Loco wrote this back when we first found out I was pregnant. He let me read a paper copy, I blushed, we made out…..so the story goes. After losing Mr Loco I had the strong desire to look at photos, to try to gather as much video as I could that captured his voice (I don’t have very much), and I wanted to find the beginning of this story. I am happy to say that I found the story. Reading it again made me cry. On my way to finding this story I found all sorts of little things that made me smile.

  • A list of my favorite take out orders- He had notes on what I liked down to the tiniest detail
  • A list of all of the root beers I have ever tried and how much I liked them- If you know me, you know that is a big list to create
  • A list titled “Stuff To Send Mrs Loco”- He always sent me things I would find funny, news articles, research that he thought I would find interesting, memes that would make me snort….you name it
  • A list titled “Shit I Carry Around on a Daily Basis”- I have no idea why he made this list but it was amusing to me that he took the time to make a list
  • The words to Hello my Baby- which is something he would sing to Baby Loco all the time
  • GBS Playlist- We had a few power songs that we blasted, danced to, cried to or just shouted at the top of our lungs
  • ALL OF OUR TEXT MESSAGES- ALL is a lot! Over the years we emailed or sent Facebook messages and occasionally talked on the phone. When we admitted we liked each other the usage of my phone EXPLODED. It was a good thing we both had unlimited plans. Having those text messages is pretty awesome. Knowing they were important enough to Mr Loco to save in a file makes my heart melt. He saved every text, every email, every Facebook message….
  • I also reread this entire blog. We both were started running together. Mr Loco was in AZ and I was in MI. We talked about shoes, sport beans, distance, races that sounded cool, we read a few of the same books, shared our opinions on hydration systems, you name it. It was fun to read through the blog and remember when we were novice runners.

Back to I Knocked Up My High School Girlfriend When We Were 36 The Mostly Trueish Story of Finding Love Where I Always Knew It Would Be. The title alone makes me blush like a high school girl with a crush. Mr Loco really made me weak in the knees. There is only a small part of our story and this probably will leave you with more “I didn’t know that” or “WHAT?” than it will fill in our long history but it is a piece of his writing. It is something that makes me cry, smile, feel so very loved  and in true Mr Loco fashion, it offers some practical advice at the very end.

Chapter 1 The Mayday Message

Monday, May 2nd started off relatively uneventfully. I had an unexpected and relatively rare day in the office to catch up on email and administrative tasks like expense reports timesheets. At the time, I was working as a low-level bureaucrat for the State of Arizona. My job required nearly constant in-state travel, often over weekends and holidays. Most of my co-workers had advanced degrees; I had a high- school diploma, a handful of community college credits, a working understanding of public safety communications that didn’t come from watching TV and absolutely zero compunction against telling senior officials they were wrong, that they were putting their people and the public at risk, and opening themselves to enormous liability. That weekend was supposed to have been spent observing and reporting on an event. The event was cancelled due to weather, but not before the entire team had assembled in a relatively remote area of the state and spent a night in a hotel. So I had the unenviable task Monday morning of turning in an expense report and timesheet along with a memo explaining why we had spent money travelling and produced nothing for it. My partner and I managed to put a positive spin on it – the jurisdiction had made excellent progress and based on their planning and documentation, our report would have probably been favorable, assuming they followed their own plan. The bottom line, though, was that shit happens.

So, after writing up all of that, I grabbed a cup of coffee and decided to check my Facebook. That’s when things started going sideways.

May 1, 2011

The Future Mrs Loco

Running and Stuff

So, I have been lazy and waiting to hear back from my friend in LA about whether or not she was going to be in town during the race….now that I know that she is, the race is not only sold out but the wait list is closed. My only option is to get a spot by doing fundraising. How easy was it to raise money? It appears I will need to raise $600. My punishment for dragging my feet is doing a good deed. Opinions?

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We ended up in Disneyland together

I just got back from the Urban Dare in Pittsburgh. It is a MUST DO. It is super fun. We actually talked about you on our drive. We were talking about high school believe it or not. We were talking about what we did right before going to college and I remember the night before I left hanging out with you and Davina and just being happy. I also remembered you giving me flowers senior year and just being all around awesome- even coming to visit me at Western and me not really having a clue until a few years later. Why was I so lame? I have no clue. If your ears were ringing this weekend that is why.

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We ran the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon side by side

Now it is time to unpack this suitcase and plot a way to make it to the Disneyland 1/2 Marathon so I can claim my coast to coast medal!

I’ll get back to that message in a minute.

I had had a huge and severe crush on The Future Mrs Loco when we were seniors in high school. She was cute, smart, funny, outspoken, had an infectious laugh and mischievous grin, and I thought she was far out of my league. In fact, I put myself into social and extracurricular activities solely because she was also in them and I was hoping against hope to attract her attention.

I went to football games that I didn’t care about (which was fortunate, since our team went 0-9 for the season).

I worked a class fundraising car wash, not because I gave a shit about raising money for prom, but because I thought she might be there.

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Can you spot Mr Loco with his arm around Mrs Loco during the high school play?

I auditioned for and was given two parts in the senior play, which was a supremely awful collection of scenes about coming of age. As rehearsals dragged on and we all became increasingly disenchanted with the play, I resisted the urge to drop the play only because she was in it. Final performances were embarrassingly bad, but in retrospective the effort was well spent.

I went to a haunted house on Halloween with a group of other seniors. I managed to manipulate our line placement so that I was between her and another girl, which meant holding both of their hands as we went through (the fact that I thought this was a huge achievement might have something to do with why it would be another twenty years before we procreated).

I was walking past the library one day and saw The Future Mrs Loco studying at a table with some other kids in our class. Having nowhere in particular to be, I joined her table and started chatting with them. I don’t remember where the conversation went, but within a few minutes everyone was laughing so hard that we all nearly got thrown out of the library.

On Valentine’s Day1 I sent The Future Mrs Loco flowers during her second class of the day. I was an aid that hour for a government teacher. Some days I would teach his class or correct papers, but he was so checked out that most days he neither knew nor cared where I was. But I digress. When she came out, holding the flowers I had sent, she said, “thanks.”

I had officially been friend-zoned.

I played the national anthem at prom assembly in a manner heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix and Steve Vai (when I say that I was heavily influenced, what I’m really saying is that I outright ripped them off). I got permission from the

1 This is the first, but probably not the last, time I will mention my nearly extreme pedantry. Hearing someone say “Valentime’s Day” is like taking that device that held five pieces of chalk for making music lines on a chalkboard and dragging it across the chalkboard, while holding a Realistic microphone up to said chalkboard and running it through a piece-of-shit Crate amp with overdrive and reverb cranked all the way up.

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band director and worked with him on the arrangement, then spent the next few weeks practicing until my mother’s ears bled and she couldn’t stand it any longer. To this day, I’m sure those first few notes make her cringe. When the day came, I pulled it off. My first (and only) live performance before an audience of over a thousand, and I fucking killed it. Euphoric, I walked out of the gym and saw The Future Mrs Loco, arm-in-arm with another boy waiting for the court to be presented, and my spirit was crushed.

My spirit was crushed because I was kind of an angsty kid. I had a bit of an inferiority complex for some reason. I now know that I pretty much had the same amount of angst all the other kids, but I seriously felt like an outsider. A lot of junior and senior year was spent trying to get into a what I thought was a better social circle so that I would be involved in things instead of hearing about them later. But I didn’t have The Future Mrs Loco, so I got all wrapped up in listening to “Black” by Pearl Jam. In my seventeen year-old world, I knew someday she’d have a beautiful life. I knew she’d be a star in somebody else’s sky.

I accepted being friend-zoned, for the most part. I looked at it somewhat pragmatically – we were heading in different directions at the end of the year and I already knew from experience that long distance relationships pretty much don’t work. The Future Mrs Loco was going to Western Michigan University to become a teacher and I had been accepted at Earlham with no particular plan. We hung out together some at our class party and on her last night in town, my friend Davina and I picked her up and took her to the airport, where we watched planes land before going to Denny’s and drinking coffee until the sun came up. Years later, Davina would tell me that it was completely obvious that we belonged together.

I stopped at WMU on my way home from Earlham one weekend. I was a little blown away by the disparity between the two schools. Earlham is extremely small and Western is the opposite. I didn’t know where The Future Mrs Loco was living, but I just wandered into the first dorm I found and inquired at the desk. The work-study student rang her room and moments later she came bounding down the stairs and hugged me. I couldn’t stay long, but we chatted for a few minutes.

I left Earlham after my sophomore year. I didn’t take away much, academically. I hadn’t really committed myself to learning and my grades showed it. I couldn’t even transfer most of the credits I earned since EC ran on trimesters at the time. I didn’t leave empty-handed, though; I had taken up with a girl with whom I would spend most of the next seventeen years. L and I were together off and on for longer than most people stay married. Our relationship was somewhat manic- depressive; it would be great for a while, then tense and strained for a weeks and even months.

I moved back home and into a small apartment. I sold computers at a chain store; my supervisors liked me and promoted me as quickly as they could. The work was boring, frustrating and formulaic, but I didn’t really know what else to do with my life. I was rudderless. My life revolved around 10-12 hours a day and drinking at a Mexican restaurant that didn’t check ID. L was still at Earlham when I got an invitation to The Future Mrs Loco’s wedding.

The Future Mrs Loco was marrying some dude from Western. That was pretty much all I knew. I assumed she was the star in his sky. I went to the wedding and reception

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alone and got drunk at the open bar. A mutual friend later told me she has a picture of me at the reception and I looked “sooooo sad.” I joke that I took two girls from my senior class home from the reception; the truth is that I was just too shitfaced to drive myself home and they were kind enough to give me a ride.

L and I moved to Arizona a few months later. I saw The Future Mrs Loco one more time before we left. She and her husband were living in a mobile home outside of Kalamazoo while she finished her senior year. I stopped by one afternoon and we talked nervously while sipping Kool-Aid. After that, I assumed she had just lived happy ever after.

Chapter 2 Flirting With Disaster

I named this chapter “Flirting With Disaster” purely as a placeholder (by which I mean that I wanted to start another chapter so I could make sure Word was handling my chapters and table of contents), figuring that I would change it at some later date or that if a publisher ever bought this book they would change it. It’s not particularly descriptive of the events. As a side-note, I saw Molly Hatchet perform the song of the same title at Arizona Bike Week sometime around the turn of the century. There were maybe fifty people in the audience and the band was incredibly bad. Also, incredibly drunk. Until early 2012, it was the worst live performance I had ever seen by a nationally known act.

Chapter 3 Shacking Up

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Chapter 4 Married Life

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Chapter 5 The Clock Is Ticking

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Chapter 6 Better Late Than Never

As I mentioned in Chapter 1, when Mrs Loco and I got together I only had a few college courses on my transcript. By the time I got to this chapter, I held an Associate of Science from Phoenix College2 and I was working on my B.S. After leaving Earlham, I had always intended to finish college but had never given it enough focus. When we got pregnant with our first crumb snatcher, I got focused. I wanted to continue my education because I wanted the best possible life for our children, I wanted my education to serve as an example to them, and I felt a little inferior that my wife had an advanced degree and I didn’t.

If you’re trying to figure out how to finish your undergrad while balancing work and family, I’ll give you the same advice I plan to give my kids.

  1. CLEP3 everything you can. I completed Calculus, Chemistry, History of Western Civilization, American Government, Introductory Psychology and Analyzing and Interpreting Literature by examination, which contributed 23 of the 64 credits in my A.S. I bought study guides and took the tests when I was ready. Not only did this save me time and allow me to learn at my own pace, it was also cheap. Each test was only $77, about a third of in-state tuition at a community college for the equivalent class4. If I had known about this program earlier, I would have also tested out of First Year Composition, U.S. History and Sociology.
  2. If you have to take 100 or 200 level courses, do it at a community college. Community colleges, while not as cheap as CLEP, are still about a tenth the price of a university5. They also usually limit class size to around 36

2 Not to be confused with the University of Phoenix, a for-profit diploma mill. Phoenix College is an accredited community college in the Maricopa County Community College District.
3 College Level Examination Program, http://www.collegeboard.org.

4 At the time of writing, in-state tuition at Maricopa County Community Colleges was $76 per credit hour plus a $15 registration fee.
5 At the time of writing, in-state tuition at Arizona State University was $4501 for six credit hours including fees, compared to $471 at Phoenix College.

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