Our story began just like any other young couple of the 21st century... online! Just kidding, it was much stranger than that.
Grant and I actually met travelling on the road... at a gas station... pumping gas. Ok, I know what you're thinking but no, I did not rip-off of an intro to a cheesy 80's horror movie. It's the start of a love story, and it's ours.
There I was, pumping gas in my big, green, 93' chevy pickup and I see this guy walk up to me out of the corner of my eye. I thought, "Keep calm, he probably isn't going to stab you and take all your money... after all, look what you're driving, you look broke!"
I calmly looked in his general direction to see what he wanted and he hands me this ripped up piece of paper and says, "I just wanted to give you my number, do what you want with it, cutie."
I know, disgusting, right? He called me cutie. Cute is for puppies and babies. I am neither so I share your confusion.
Even with his lack of proper complimentary words, I was still flattered that someone took the time to actually write their number down and hand it to me and that it didn't happen at a bar. It was a real event in real, non-bar-pick-up-line life.
So naturally, I had to consult my girlfriends to see if it was worth texting him. Yes, I am one of those people who prefer texting than talking on the phone. Probably one reason I opted for a blog instead of a vlog.
The advice I got was, "Text him! He knows nothing about you and even if he is a super great stalker, your truck isn't registered to the address that you actually live at so there's no way he can hunt you down and make a skin suit out of you!" Solid advice from a solid friend.
Now that I did not fear ending up like a victim from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I decided it was ok to contact him... So I did.
The Moment of Truth
I gained enough courage to hide behind a text a few days after the meeting. I don't quite remember what I said, but it had something to do with my truck. Guys recognize things like altered trucks more than if someone were to get a haircut, so you know by mentioning my green monster truck he would realize his attempted at gas station romance had worked.
That was it. We talked every single day since that first nervous text I sent. Once I decided he indeed was not a skin-wearing, chainsaw murderer, we made plans to meet again in person.
At the time I was living in Austin working three jobs (because Austin is expensive and I can sleep when I'm dead) and Grant was working in Fort Stockton, TX as an X-Ray tech with little to no time off as well. The first full weekend he had off he drove all night to Austin, arriving at a BBQ restaurant I was working at toward the end of my shift. He patiently waited for me to get off so he could spend two hours with me before my next shift at another job. This job was at a bar on 6th street and he gladly came along. He had never been to Austin and quickly got lost on Dirty 6 (as we locals call it).
As the night rolled on, you could say the sparks grew between us. The next morning I had off and we decided to enjoy a bit more of Austin by taking a nice, cold swim at Barton Springs. That's when he gained the courage to ask me to be his girlfriend and we have been together ever since that hot summer day in August of 2018.
For those of you who have followed my other blogs and did the math, yes, we bought a fifth wheel together rather quickly. Maybe we are idiots, maybe we just knew we'd be together forever. It's a toss-up but, hey, it worked out!
By June of 2019, we bought our camper, the Black Widow, and moved it together. Back to the maybe-we-are-idiots thing again, this was the first time I had ever lived with a boyfriend and I decided to test the waters in under 300 square feet... But again, it worked out!
Grant was still working as an X-Ray tech in west Texas and was gone about half of the time so it was just me and my dog, Abbie.
I very much feel that Abbie deserves her own part in this story. No, she is not what drew us together but she is important.
Abbie started out as my girl. I rescued her when she was 4 from a bad situation, and in a way, she rescued me too. You see, she was broken, in the first 4 years of her life, she had never had an owner. Her sole purpose in the world was to make other adorable potato-like corgi puppies. She was scared of absolutely everything and did not know how to dog.
I started taking Abbie hiking. My theory was that if I could get her in the woods, she would be able to enjoy nature without being scared something would hurt her around every corner. And get this, it worked! She slowly starting opening up, gaining confidence, and learning how to dog. I never left for a trip without her. She went hiking, paddle boarding, swimming, and camping (her favourite) with me. She was my best friend in my world of social awkwardness.
And then Grant came along. Abbie and I thought, "Wait a second, could it be?" And now we knew for sure, we added him to our wolf pack. Three of us wolves, running around the desert together, looking for... ok no strippers or cocaine. I couldn't pass up on The Hangover reference! :)
Abbie very quickly took to Grant. When working long hours on the weekend, she threw me all of her sass and let me know that Grant was now her human because he was home more and he played hide and seek with her. Figures.
And then she started to break. Her hips kept giving out more and more. She still loved to adventure but couldn't go as long so we got her a backpack for when she got tired. Soon the stairs turned into mountains and walking through the house was wearing her out. So we got her some wheels!
The wheels helped for a bit, but soon they became too painful for her to properly use. The last year of her life was full of doctor visits but nobody could fix her. Abbie was tired and she let us know.
Her favourite thing was ours; going on adventures, but her body was too broken to enjoy them anymore. Our options were to have her on pain medication, taking multiple pills a day, using her wheels and harnesses to help her move around or to give her one last good adventure and let her cross the rainbow bridge.
With all the tears and hurt in my heart, I couldn't let her live in pain anymore. Even though I couldn't picture life without her, thinking of all of the things I would go through without my shadow.
Grant and I planned her last adventure, loaded up the truck, and headed for Big Bend National Park where Abbie could do her favourite things with her two favourite people, one last time.
I knew that a proposal was coming but I had no idea it was coming when it did. I even yelled in protest that he was lying... while he was on one knee... with a ring... and our dog dressed up in a wedding dress.
We had just got to our campsite outside of Big Bend in Terlingua and were losing daylight fast. We had a good system for setting up camp. When the tent was set up, I would blow up the sleeping pads and make our beds, which is what I was doing when Grant asked for my help unloading the truck.
Something was up... I thought, "We do this all the time, what could he really need my help with?" To be honest I was a bit annoyed he was pulling me away from my task since we had maybe 30 minutes left of daylight and still needed to get the fire going so we could cook dinner. Needless to say, we ate sandwiches that night.
I emerged from the tent to see Abbie all dolled up in the cutest (too small for her) doggie wedding costume ever and Grant nervously walking toward me. I retreated back to the tent because, you know, fight or flight in nervous situations, and proceeded to protest that this was not real. After all, I had not suspected it so it couldn't be real. Control freak much?
It was real, it was very real.
It took me a little bit for it to sink in but we were engaged! It was important for us that Abbie was involved in one last milestone in our lives. Grant cancelled all of his previous proposal plans in order to include her.
*A word of advice (cough, cough Grant) don't post an engagement video to social media when in the desert with little to no service. People get upset when you not answering them.*
The sign reads "Now that it's my time to go, I approve of Grant to love and take care of you as much as you have loved and taken care of me."
I know, I'm not crying, you're crying.
That's our love story. It's not the most traditional, but is any part of our life traditional? The story continues on but that's enough for right now. We are planning to wed in October this year, meeting some hurtles provided by current events (thanks COVID).
I'm so thankful to have what I have and that we get to share our adventures with each of you!