So about a decade ago, I was surfing the internets looking for other consultants from That Scrapbooking Company and came upon The Site That Was. I logged in and posted and maybe a year-ish later this FREAK of a woman started posting as well. She was very clearly a freak because she was a Jr. High math teacher (first clue) and also worked with kids in theater. WAY too much contact with Other People's Children in my book.
Oh. And she LIKED it.
Clearly, not my kind of people.
But something clicked anyway. She lived on the other side of the country doing her freaky math and kid stuff. So all was cool. Not like she was gonna ask me to volunteer or join her in any of that.
In 2001, That Scrapbooking Company had their annual conference in Reno. *I* can go to Reno! No airfare for THAT. We had to be out of our house for a week so the builder could (try to) fix the problem with the flooring. The Mr. and children stayed with the Mother-in-Law while I went to the conference. Elaine... who I wasn't calling "that freaky woman" anymore.... was scheduled to go to the first round of the conference. She stayed a couple extra days so she could meet up with a bunch of us from The Site That Was. She said she really wanted to meet me & Marfy. The Mr. came to dinner with us, so she got to meet him too.
Time passes and we become better friends. More time passes and events happen that pull us and others together as a team. The Site That Was evaporates (cause I'm gonna be nice about it in this post) and the Mr. and I get to know Elaine and HER Mr. better.
We find ourselves spending Saturday nights in Instant Message conferences....all four of us. We would be sitting in one living room or another if we lived in the same town. But we don't. We live on opposite sides of the country. So.... Instant Message it is. Through the miracle of technology we CAN all see each other.... but it doesn't always work right and is more of a pain in the patookus, so we generally don't even bother. Although we haven't tried that since we've all been Mac enabled.... hmmm.....
Anyway..... I spent last week in Alabama with Elaine and Jerry. My 'scandalous' version of this story is that I flew across the country to a city I've never been to, to be met at the airport by a man I have never met. Which is only true in the "never met face to face" sense. I think we know each other pretty well..... and he wasn't carrying an axe, so I was fairly confident he wasn't an axe murderer. ;) So I went ahead and got in the car with him.
It's always dicey.... meeting someone you only know from a message board. You really don't REALLY know them. Since Reno, I have spent time with Elaine... in Texas. I drove all over central Texas sitting next to her in a big white van and it is STILL FUNNY, nearly four years later. I've talked on the phone with Jer.... innumerable lines of Instant Messages between us. We have laughed, commiserated, disagreed over the years. But a week in their house is a test. Pretty much doesn't matter HOW you know someone.... a week is a TEST.
I am so very glad I went. I hope they can visit us now. They have smaller children who are far less self sufficient than we do. So it may be several years before that happens. Although Helen DID say she was going to visit me when she is "six or maybe sixteen". Since six is this summer, I'm guessing sixteen is more likely.
But we are pretty much firm in our plan to send Emma to Miss Elaine's Math Camp Intensive this summer. In exchange for Emma playing with (and thus keeping them out of Mommy's hair) and babysitting (in the evenings so grown up time away from the house can be had) the Young Children, Miss Elaine is going to undo the damage done by this year's Algebra (supposed) teacher. Emma will also get to draw and play dress up with Miss Helen who has the same flair for fashion as Emma does. heh.... Emma will tutor Helen!
Fate is funny. A random spot on the internet, a chance connection.... Two families who would never have met otherwise have become very good friends. All four of us. It is rare that no matter what combination of the four, we can all comfortably get along, talk, hang out.... We have forged individual friendships. The men aren't friends just because they are the husbands and well, they might as well get along. Jerry and I spent two hours in the car talking and laughing as much as Elaine and I did on the return trip. I am sure Elaine and Normy could do the same.... I think they chat nearly every morning since Normy is up before God and it's later in the day where Elaine is and she's online. No one is weird about it. Nothing uncomfortable or awkward -()-....
It's cool. Very very cool.
.....and now.... I think I need to go jam. And that, for the record, is all Jerry's fault.