How Jason Measures Up


Jason and I are getting serious. So serious, that he met my son Jack last night. Jack approved of him! Yay!

Time to revisit the list of qualities that I want in a man, as listed in my book. How does Jason measure up?

  1. Good Communicator (one-on-one especially; similar but separate from no. 5). (ch. 1, 4, 11)  He’s a very good communicator. We talk, we text, and he teaches.  He creates multi-media art, too, so he communicates in more than one language.
  2. Intelligent (preferably college educated). (ch. 1, 9, 12) Check.
  3. Over 1 year since last major breakup (including, but not limited to, divorce) or >1 month since minor break up (relationships lasting <6 months). (ch. 2, 10, 11) Check, divorce was 1 year ago in August, so 1.5 years ago.
  4. Mentally healthy (read: no history of chronic depression, bipolar disorder, or any other mood/insane diagnosis). (ch. 2, 16)  Well, I didn’t ask him this question yet. Maybe I can bring it up at dinner.
  5. Personable (charming but not a charmer; fun to be around; makes me laugh). (ch. 3, 4, 5, 10) Check! His Match profile made me laugh and I giggle every time we talk/text!
  6. Good with kids, but doesn’t want biological (more) children. (ch. 5) Check.
  7. Athletic (or at the very least in good shape). (ch. 6, 9, 12) Doublecheck! Mmm, biceps…
  8. Nonsmoker, no drugs. (ch. 6, 15) Check.
  9. Willing to live in or within 30 minutes drive of my house. (ch. 6) Not so much; he lives 40 minutes away. However, it’s only 5 minutes from the university.
  10. Truthful. (ch. 8) So far, so good!
  11. Handsome (I’m beautiful, I deserve an attractive man). (ch. 9, 12) Check.
  12. Financial well off and frugal (with in reason; willing to spend money to go out to eat occasionally and puts money in savings regularly). (ch. 9, 12) Unknown.
  13. My age ±5 years. (ch. 9) He’s 7 months and 5 days younger than me. I’m a cradle robber! Hee hee hee.
  14. Calls me every night, or at least every other night. (ch. 9) We’ve texted every single day.
  15. A guy who considers every day with me a special occasion. (ch. 12) He brought Nothing But Bundt Cake to my house last night. Did you know they have gluten free chocolate chip cakes?! Sooooo good.
  16. Chemistry. (ch. 13, 15) Check. Triple check!!!
  17. Never been to jail. (ch. 15) Hmmm, another thing I need to confirm. I assume that his record is mostly clean, since he’s a teacher.  Is that a bad assumption?
  18. Employed. (ch. 16) Check!

That makes a total of 3 unknown, 1 no, and 14 yes. That’s 78%, which is a passing score. Whoo hoo! If he gets the 3 unknowns, his score may be as high as 94%!!

Movie night went well last night. So well, in fact, that he’s cooking me dinner tonight. I have a major crush on him and I’m looking forward to seeing him again. Shit, I have a goofy grin on my face. I have a feeling that it will get worse when I see him. Judging by the way he drug his feet when he left last night, I think that he likes my goofy face!


Happy Dance

Reggie flushed the toilet and said, “That’s your sound effect for Joe.”

I laughed! “You’re usually telling me not to rush to judgment! Joe is nice enough. We had a good date,” I said.

“He dips. I stand by the flush. Find someone else,” Reggie said.

“Ok, ok! Joe is gone. He’s ten years older than me and I didn’t really trust him, anyway. I can’t say why; Jack got a controlling vibe off him, too. We’ve had 4 or 5 dates and I just wasn’t excited about him. So, how should I break up with him? A phone call?” I asked.

“First off, it’s not a break up, because you weren’t exclusively dating. So text him,” Reggie said.

“Hmmm, ok, I can see that. How about something like, ‘We just don’t click’ or ‘we don’t have enough in common?’” I asked.

“Either one works. You’ve got Jason the Math Teacher to hang out with, right? Well, there you go,” Reggie said.

“Yes, Jason is coming over tomorrow night to meet my son Jack and watch movies. YAY! Tonight is girl’s night with Lilly and Allie!! AND I have two interviews next week! I am so. Freaking. Excited! If all goes well, I will have two offers, which means that I’ll have negotiating power! WOOT!” I said. He knew all this already, of course, but I was so excited that it was worth repeating.

“I know! I’m happy for you, Julie. Have fun tonight with the girls,” he said.

“Oh, we will!” I said, laughing. “It’s time for a happy dance!”


Lake Grapevine

Lake_Grapevine1 Lake_Grapevine2 Lake_Grapevine3 Lake_Grapevine4

Joe and I picked up two bags of trash as we hiked at Lake Grapevine today. I usually pick up trash when I hike, so I smiled when I saw that he does, too. There’s something very sad about an empty water bottle in the middle of the woods, and an empty bag of chips turns my stomach. We made the trail a little cleaner today.

While we hiked, we chatted about places that we like to visit his farm in Oklahoma, Colorado, Montana, and Glen Rose. Glen Rose is home to Dinosaur Valley State Park, about 2 hours away, which has dinosaur fossils and footprints. I haven’t been there or to his farm, but I’d love to go. I’ve been to Colorado multiple times and Montana once; both are beautiful and I’d love to go again.

Joe dipped smokeless tobacco and I thought, “Strike one.”

After hiking for about two hours, we went out to lunch at Chili’s. The light conversation continued. I explained my thesis work to him in simplified laymen’s terms, and he talked about forging knives with his son. (They want to start; they haven’t yet.) The discussion was pleasant but not deep.

Driving home, he yawned. “I didn’t sleep much last night. Don’t know why; just popped awake after a couple of hours. I think I’ll go take a nap.”

I wondered if he was actually out all night dancing. I couldn’t say why, but I felt like he was hiding something. I shook off the feeling and enjoyed the moment.

Handsome man, good hike, beautiful weather, and easy conversation made for a good day. I had a good time, but not a great time. It was good, clean fun, too (pun intended – we picked up a lot of trash).


His Giant Love Sack

Jason paused the movie and kissed me passionately. “More wine?” he asked.

His was silhouetted against the TV, where a humanoid raccoon held a gun-like weapon. “Guardians of the Galaxy” was one of his favorite movies. This was my first time watching it.

“Yes, please,” I responded breathlessly, shifting myself on his giant beanbag. The “Lovesack” was in the middle of the room; the couch was off to the side. The tag on the giant beanbag actually read, “Lovesac.”  I laughed every time I saw it. “I’m sitting on your giant lovesack,” I said out loud.

“Ya you are!” Jason replied. “I can’t get my five-year-old to call it that. He still refers to it as the couch.


He brought me another glass of Educated Guess Cabernet. He had purchased it because the bottle was cool; he’s a beer drinker. It has scientific equations scribbled on it in white ink on a black bottle, making it look like chalk on a blackboard. It was totally what a teacher should buy. Well, that, or Liberty School. “I bought Algorithm for my software engineer friends. They didn’t even care how it tasted; they just loved the bottle,” I said.

“I agree! That sounds cool!” he said. He really had a problem confusing nerdy with cool. I didn’t correct him.  He sipped his beer.  “My favorite microwave popcorn got a D- from the food rating app,” Jason said. “So I bought this Stir Crazy popcorn popper and coconut oil. Do you want me to put butter on the top and let it melt? It’s a really cool feature of this machine.”

He was so sweet to go through the trouble of buying the machine that I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had bought the same machine over five years ago. Its features were no longer novel to me. “No, please – I’ll explain why that’s evil, but only if you want me to. It may sound a little crazy,” I said. I was aware that my aversion to certain foods might get tiresome.

“Please, enlighten me,” he said.

“Well, the butter sits on a plastic (polymer) bowl with holes in the bottom. The butter melts as the hot steam flows up from the cooking popcorn, and flows through the holes to drip onto the popcorn. Well, polymers are made with fire retardant chemicals. When hot fluid (butter) flows through the polymer, it picks up some of the chemicals, which then get deposited on our food.” I paused to gage his reaction. He seemed to be thinking about what I’d just said. “I still drink out of plastic bottles, I just don’t like cooking with plastic. Hot fluids tend to pick up more chemicals, you know.”

“That’s not crazy at all. It’s SCIENCE!” Jason replied.

I smiled. He kinda gets me.

At the end of the night, he said, “I have my son this weekend. Would you like to do something with us?”

“No,” I said quickly, before my wine- and kiss-addled brain could process the question. “I can’t meet your son for at least six months! It’s a rule!” Somewhere inside me, Sober Julie did a face palm. She said, “You could have said, ‘No thank you.’ You could have been nicer. But no, you just blurt out something about the RULES!!”

He took it well. “Ok, I’ll miss you this week, then.”

A few more kisses and I was out the door.

The next day, sober once more, I was talking to my son Jack about the date. “He kinda reminds me of one of the Mikes, but I’m hoping that he doesn’t have Mike’s flaws,” I said.

“Ya, Mike was a womanizer,” Jack said. “Why don’t you invite him over here, and I’ll talk to him? I’ll tell you if he’s a player.”

“OHHHH! Good idea!” I said. So I texted Jason, “Movie night at my house next week? You can meet Jack (the 6-month rule doesn’t apply to adult children).”

He responded, “To quote some dumbass, perhaps Ricard Burton, ‘No rule is so general as to admit not one exception.’”

I looked at the message. It was non-committal. Hmmm, guess I have to ask again. “True. So you wanna?”

He texted at the same time, “And by that I mean of course I’ll come.”

I smiled at the phone. I texted back, “Awesome. BYOB. I’m not even gonna try to pick out a drink for a beer snob like you.”

“Smart and funny!” he replied.

I’m looking forward to next week!  Although, I don’t have a giant love sack. Sigh, the movie won’t be the same without it.


Conflicting Rules

The Rule of Three conflicts with the Rule of Fuck Yes,” I said to the phone, frowning.

Naughty Nadia answered with a shrug, “Depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to play it safe, and just have some fun, go with the Rule of Three; date three different guys at the same time. Keep it casual. If you find someone that you’re like, Fuck Yes! I want to be with THIS GUY ALL THE TIME!! Then all bets are off. Quit seeing guy number 2, break it off with guy number 3, and spend all your time with your number 1 guy.”

“You make it sound so simple!” I said. “I think I just don’t trust myself. I really like Jason; but then, I really liked my first and second husbands, too. And Zack; I still miss him. I’m a terrible judge of character. TERRIBLE!”

“Sister, you’re just gun shy. Don’t beat yourself up. Go have some fun!” Nadia said.

“Joe told me a funny story. He and his son are planning a camping trip in Norway. His son asked if they could visit Chernobyl,” I said.

“WTF?! Chernobyl, as in, the epicenter of a nuclear power plant melt down?!” Nadia responded.

“Yep, that’s the one,” I was laughing at her response. “And that’s about what I said! And Joe, too! Turns out, his son has a video game centered on Chernobyl, so he wanted to see it in real life. He did a little research into it, too. Told his dad that they wear Geiger counters to measure the amount of radiation that they’ve been exposed to, and they get washed off when they come out of the affected zone.”

“WTF?!,” Nadia repeated. “I don’t want any part of a vacation that involves GEIGER COUNTERS and AFFECTED ZONES!!!”

“My sentiments exactly!” I said. “Joe wasn’t into the idea, either. Kids and their video games!!”

“What about Jason, any concerns about his son? They both have one kid, right?” Nadia asked.

“Yes, they both have sons, about 10 years apart. Joe’s is 15 while Jason’s is 5; the guys are ten years apart, too. So Jason’s son likes scissors, so his nickname is Snips,” I told her.

“Snips?! That’s hilarious!” Nadia said. “Edward Scissorhands!”

“That’s about all I know about the boy. But then, he’s 5, there’s not much to know. Oh, and he wants to be a fireman when he grows up,” I said.

“As do most boys his age,” Nadia added.

“Yup,” I agreed. “So I’m seeing Jason again tonight.”

“That’s the 3rd time in one week! Right? Saturday, Monday, and now Wednesday. Better slow down, if you’re going by the Rule of Threes,” Nadia cautioned.

“I know, I will! It’s just…we were talking about this movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, and how much he likes it, and how I should see it…so I agreed to go over to his place and see it tonight,” I confessed.

“Girl, you better watch out! The Rule of Three only works until you sleep with a guy. Then you have to break up with the other two and just date that one guy,” Nadia warned me.

“I’m not planning to sleep with him, and I told him as much. I’m going to watch the movie then go home,” I said. “Reggie told me to set a timer on my phone and tell him that I have to be home by 9:30.”

“Nice! Good idea!” Nadia approved.

“Of course, if he kisses me like he kissed me last time, I’m in trouble!” I said, giggling.

“Keep that Taser handy! Use it on yourself if you have to! Wait, no, don’t do that. Keep a glass of cold water handy, maybe?” Nadia said.

“Ha! A wet t-shirt contest, right, that would help the situation! NOT!” I laughed. “No, I’ll just leave at the end of the movie. I can control myself, I’ll be fine. But if I’m going by the Rule of Three, I need to find another guy.”

“Yes, it really helps, because then you’re not needy and clingy with one guy. Not that you are, but I know some people who can be,” Nadia said quickly. I wasn’t sure if she was referring to herself or one of her friends. “Anyway, you won’t sit and look at your phone waiting for a text, wondering if he likes you, because you’ll have other guys to talk to. And it’ll help you take it slow.”

“I like it. Not sure if I can juggle three guys, but I like the thought that it’ll make me less crazy,” I said.

“Not less crazy—there’s no help for you there!” she said laughing.

“Ok, ok, bad wording!” I said, also laughing. “Maybe I’ll keep Joe, Jason, and my thesis. I should spend some time thinking about my school work, after all.”

“And you’re less likely to sleep with it!” Nadia added. “Oh, wait, unless you fall asleep on a book; but that’s not the same thing.”

I laughed. “I’ll stay awake with all my guys, I promise, even the research paper. Now, I gotta go get ready for class. I’ll tell you all about my third date with Jason tomorrow.”


Take a Hike!


Joe looked as tasty as ever in his long sleeved t-shirt and jeans. The shirt did nothing to hide his muscles: pecs, biceps, and so forth. I tried to look into his beautiful blue eyes.

“Good morning,” I said.

We were at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas. For the next two hours, we hiked through the woods, streams, and mud. The temperature was in the 60’s, so it was the perfect day to be outside. The conversation flowed easily.

“See this right here? This is what my farm in Oklahoma looks like,” Joe told me. “A neighbor moved in and bull-dozed acres of trees so that he could graze cattle. I used to have trees as far as the eye could see; now, I can see his house.” He made a face. “We can still hike there, you’d like it. We can take the quad down to the lake to see if the beavers are making mischief.”

“Quad is a four-wheeler? Like an all-terrain vehicle?” I asked.

“Yes. My son and I race motor cross…” Joe said, and told me about the tracks. “I’m getting too old. You can only see about 10 feet in front of the bike, so it’s hard to see turns and hills coming up. I fall and get all scraped up; hit my head sometimes, too.”

I didn’t know what to say to that. A lot of our conversations were like that; either I talked about something or he did, with the other just listening. I didn’t mind so much; I love hiking, and I enjoyed having company.

After two hours of hiking, I wasn’t ready to go home just yet, so I suggested that we grab lunch. He said, “Whatever you want to do, babe.”

I chose a place 5 minutes away and we went.

This time, I let him know that he didn’t have to order the same thing as me, by saying, “I thought that you’d want the omelet with the turkey. Or maybe the one with the ham.”

He thought about it and agreed. He ordered the one with turkey, while I had the veggie.

Neither of us wanted to say good bye. A hug and a quick kiss, and he said, “Thank you for the easy conversation. You’re really easy to talk to.”

That was on Sunday. We’ve exchanged a couple of text messages each day. However, that’s a far cry from the 30+ messages that I’ve exchanged with the teacher. I guess I have more in common with Jason. I think that I need to take Jason hiking; then I’ll have the best of both worlds. It’s just such a shame, because Joe looks like Bruce Willis. How do you walk away from Bruce Willis?!



Hot for Teacher

“My tie was an official Warner Brothers Harry Potter product, as obtained at Party City. I have the glasses and wand, too. Uh, and perhaps a scarf. But I’m not obsessed or anything,” Jason texted to me.

That was in response to my text, “Fun fact: my friend is upset that your tie was purple and gold. She insists that it should be burgundy.”

I’m not a Harry Potter lover, so I went with a more general comment. “It’s not the size of the wand, it’s the magic that you make with it.”

“That’s usually what a guy would say while the girls in the room are secretly disagreeing,” Jason responded.

“Tsk, the answer that we were looking for was, I’ve got your magic right here, baby!” I responded with heavy sarcasm.

“You should never be afraid of the loud one, whose braggadocio exceeds his capabilities. Instead, fear the quiet one, who is confident in his abilities with a wand, a fist, a word, his mouth, his hands, who doesn’t need to make proclamations. His wand work will speak for itself,” Jason texted.

Very nice, I thought.

“Or something like that,” he texted to lighten the mood. “Also, Expelliarmus.”

Ok, I didn’t know what that meant. Maybe it’s a Harry Potter spell word? So I responded in Latin with Buyer Beware, “Caveat emptor?”

“As a fellow capitalist, always,” Jason agreed.

About an hour later, I asked, “Do you play quidich?” I didn’t really care one way or the other; I was curious.

“Yes, I’m a beater,” came the response.

I shrugged at the phone and walked away, curiosity satisfied.

He must have been staring at his phone, waiting for a response, because 59 minutes later he texted, “(Psst, Jason, saying you’re a beater was absolutely the wrong thing to say. You could have Keeper or Seeker, both with pleasant connotations. But Beater? Just creepy, man.)”

So I responded in kind, “(Psst, talking to yourself in the third person is even weirder than playing quidich.)” Then, to give the guy a break, I added, “Hey, did I ever tell you how much I love white, skinny, nerdy guys? ESPECIALLY ones whose names start with J.”

“No, I don’t think you did,” he texted.

“The nerdier the better. Knowledge of Robert Jordan is a plus,” I sent.

“Also, I’m okay with weird, but I want to avoid creepy,” he told me.

“Me too. Don’t grow a mustache or offer me candy while calling me a little girl,” I said.

He stepped up his game, big time. “And what about the combination of Adams, Jordan, Martin, Rowling, and Tolkein?”

Wow. I answered honestly, “I got tingles all over. Add Asimov, and I might faint.” It was getting hot and heavy, nerd style.

A picture of Asimov’s Guide to the Bible came through. One of Asimov’s books that I haven’t read! In hardcover! I swooned. I waited five full minutes then texted, “I just picked myself up off the floor.”

I texted him at the same time that he was texted me. The topic was the same: Doctor Who. So of course we had a lively conversation about which Doctor we’d rather travel with.

Finally, I told him, “I have to go. I’m falling asleep. All that fainting is hard work.”

We met tonight for dinner and drinks. The conversation was just as nerdy: Star Trek (Data versus Spock), Kurt Vonnegut, whether or not Tina Fey was in the last Muppet movie, etc. And less nerdy: whether we should have our next date at the used book store or back at his place. Either way, I’m looking forward to it, because the kiss at the end of the night: WOW. Definitely not nerdy.  I’m hot for teacher!