Monday, 23 September 2013

Wise men say...

...only fools rush in. But I, can't help, falling in love, with youuuuuu!

Ahh, whatever happened to UB40?

When it comes down to it, whatever happened to music in general?

Gone are the days when a piece of music was like poetry - Don McLean's - "American Pie", Billy Joel's 'Lullabye', Extreme - "More Than Words".

I mean COME ON! They just dont make tunes like that anymore.

It's something I've been doing a lot of recently is listening to the lyrics in songs. A lot of the time I think we hear them, but we don't really listen to them.

For this blog post (seeing as it's a special one :D) Im going to do something a little bit different. Im going to write a little about my life so far, and im going to start each section with a song title that really sums up how I felt at that moment...

Colin Hay - "Waiting for my real life to begin..."
Reason - Everything was fresh and new - the whole world was in front of me, I was just waiting on my time to come.

Just out of high school and eager to get started with life. I had big dreams. I was going to be a world renowned computer programmer. I'd be responsible for coming up with "the next big thing." It would make me millions and Id spend my days jet setting from country to country living the high life...seventeen I was, and at the time...working in McDs.

Rod Stewart - "Sailing"
Reason -  I was an explorer, adventuring across the ocean. The thrill of adventure saw me eagerly awaiting my first trip to discover wonders unknown.

Software engineering whiffed. It wasn't for me I had decided. Hours upon end spent staring at a computer screen trying to figure out why my sub-routine didn't like my array indexing. Or trying to figure out what the hell a "Protocol 4" error was.

Instead I was going to join the Merchant Navy and become a very windswept and interesting fellow who travelled the world.

And I did this, to a certain extent. I travelled to a lot of fantastic places, but life at sea is...well it's just that. It's life at sea!

I'd spend 5 weeks in the ocean, working 16 hour days and being on call the other 8 and then when we finally got to the port If I was lucky Id get 8 hours ashore before having to be back on board to carry out one watch or another.

David Alexander - "Working Man"
Reason - The reality of working life hit home and I began to realise that to get anywhere in life, you had to work hard.

The last foriegn port I visited was a port called Ponto De Madeira on the north eastern shores of Brazil. The tidal changes here meant that the winches had to be manned at all times. With a crew of 24 men and 13 two man winches we were short crew as it was. One of the cabin boys went ashore and never came back so we were down to 23 and that meant that every man on board was awake and on deck for the entire 64 hour stay in port.

It was really horrible. When people tell me now that they are tired, or when I begin to think it myself I remember how I felt finishing that shift and the fatigue quickly leaves me.

Frankie Miller - "Caledonia"
Reason - I love Scottish music at the best of times. But this song is guaranteed to give me those patriotic tingles that only music can make.

On the return journey to the UK we went through some horrific, and I mean force 9 horrific weather. The engine lost power in the Bay of Biscay and we were pretty much at the mercy of nature as we were battered about by the wind. I dont think Ive ever felt so humble, or helpless in that moment as I did then. I was and am too young to be a sad "lost at sea" story. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew when I got home I would not be returning to sea life.

Years passed. If I had to pick five songs to sum up those five years it might look like this:

Queen - "Pressure"
Deacon Blue - "Dignity"
Kenny Rodgers - "Gambler"
Van Morrison - "Just like Greta" (Pure poetry! - but don't listen if you're feeling sad :( )
Miley Cyrus - "The Climb"

although Im sure I could add another fifty and it would still not sum up those years.

Then something totally unexpected happened. And it all happened with a trip to the bathroom....

Idina Menzel - "Defying Gravity"
Reason - This song for me is about taking a chance on something. (It's actually about the wicked witch of the west before she was wicked). When the final bridge kicks in and Idina really opens up It makes me think of free-falling, pure excitement, adrenaline.

It had been a long day at work. One of those day when before it had even hit lunchtime I was looking forward to running a jacuzzi and getting my nose in to a good book for a couple of hours.

I had been working on a writing piece for a friends anthology about birth defects and medical conditions and disabilities in general which effected how other people perceived us. "Excuse me mister!" was the working title.

As soon as I got home I started the tap, put down the seat and started to read through the piece I had written again. But I'd lost interest. I had been reading it and re-reading it for days. I needed something different to look at.

Too lazy to leave the bathroom and go sifting through stacks of books I opened the cupboard and found the usual selection of "Hello" magazines and the likes, and there was also a copy of the local paper from the week before.

Not that I am not a fan of "Hello" (I mean who isn't?) but I picked up the Lennox Herald and flicked through the pages.

About half way through I came across an article about a local girl who had won a regional award and had been nominated for the national finals for being an inspirational person. The article mentioned the condition she had and a little bit about herself.

The girl was beautiful, but there was something else there. She just looked so...courageous.

Jacuzzi's ready.

I put the paper down, hopped in to the tub and chilled for a bit. Having run out of reading material I grabbed my phone and googled "Neurofibromatosis".

I was amazed by what I read. This girl, who was standing there so confident and proud had been through all of this. The penny dropped then. "She would be perfect for this anthology".

I asked about amongst friends and family but despite her being local, no one seemed to know her. Having almost given up on the idea (and I am sincerely glad I didnt give up at this point because it was a close thing) I was on Facebook one night and the thought occured to me that maybe I could search for a person using FB.

I sent her a message that night, it took about 10 weeks for a reply to come back my way, but it was the start of something I never really expected.

Disney - "Something There"
Reason - This song really sums up that kind of 'strange' bit in a friendship where neither person can figure the other person out. Both parties silently wondering if they should be holding hands or not. Or whether a kiss should be replacing a hug. Its about that little bit of doubt that creeps up in your mind, clouding the things that on hindsight, your eyes should have seen clearly.

Just after my birthday in January I knew that she was special. Sure Id had relationships before but I knew that this one was different. With Toots there was never a dull moment, always something interesting to talk about or place to go.

Like turned to love at somepoint over the next couple of months. Yes, you read that right...months!

The dating the romance the dancing, the beat your heart skips whenever your phone gets a text message, It was all amazing. I knew I had never felt like this before.

I cant pin point exactly when the transition happened. I remember a night in my flat and Toots started to feel unwell. Her vision was blurring her hands and arms cramped up, I was really scared. I phoned her dad and went with her and her parents to the hospital.

I sat in the waiting room for hours and then when we finally got to get through to see her I had this overwhelming urge to take her hand and just let her know I was there. Seeing her lying on the bed In that instant I would have done anything to cure NF2 and take whatever pain she was in away and make it my own. I would have swapped places with her in a heart beat.

A similar night when we were staying at the wigwams with a big group of her friends. Toots again started to feel unwell and the same symptons were happening. We were miles away from anywhere. We phoned her parents and for the next hour I just hugged her and kept her warm, doing everything I could to make her comfortable.

When someone you love needs you, you'll do everything you can for them, even if all you can do is be there.

Lonestar - "Amazed"
Westlife - "Flying Without Wings"
Reason - For the lyrics that some up an emotion, and for the countless dances around the living room.

Things with toots just went from strength to strength. Camping trips, DVD nights, nights out, nights in. I loved every minute I spent with her.

I realised at somepoint that my goals when I was younger were all wrong. Its not about the money youve got in the bank or the letters after your name. If you dont have anyone in your life to be in love with then its all just...well a bunch of numbers and letters!

On the 21st of September, the time felt right...

Shania Twain - "From This Moment"
Reason - Every single word is true.

Toots and I have been talking about getting engaged for the last couple of months. I had ordered a ring and it was due to arrive in the next couple of months.

Me being me, I had big plans. I was going to do it in December, an elaborate scavenger hunt that would have her touring places we had been on dates, taking part in challenges against her family and friends to win clues pointing her to the prize - me and a ring :D

Toots knew the ring was due, but not exactly when it was going to be there, and she had no idea about the grand proposal ideas I had in store.

All that went out the window on Saturday morning when the postman knocked the door!

I got out of bed and signed for this small un-assuming package and knew exactly what was inside. I think I stood for about ten minutes staring at the envelope thinking to myself, "What do I do?"

I didnt want to leave it downstairs to let nosy fingers open it or much more likely, the dog tear it apart. So with some quick thinking I covertly wrapped a pair of jeans around the envelope and went back up to bed.

"What was that?" Toots asked as I went in. "Whats with the grin?"

"Nothing" said the worlds worst liar.

"Aye right, what took you so long?"

"I was erm, signing for a card."

A skeptical look met that remark, a look that kind of said "Eh, do I really look that stupid?" without actually saying a word.

"Where is it then?"

"I left it downstairs" As I carefully placed the jeans on the floor and climbed back in to bed.

After another couple of comments about the daft grin I was wearing Toots turned to face the wall.

A good five minutes passed before she turned back around, 

"What are you grinning at?!"


Then her eyes lit up as it all fell in to place.

"That was it, the ring!"

I dont think my face could have told that lie even if my lips had wanted to.

Toots then spent about twenty minutes coaxing me in to showing her the ring and just proposing there and then. I think she actually got a little frustrated when I said no and once again I found her back turned but this time with a pilllow placed between us on the bed, covering our faces.

UB40 - "(I can't help) Falling in love with you"

A good five minutes passed as I thought aboutt verything. Could I really do it now? What was holding me back? Finally I come up with the answer,


I tapped her shoulder and told her I love her, that the last year had been the best of my life and that I always wanted to be with her.

With fingers trembling I reached for the box the ring was in. Nicole had turned around but the pillow was still between us so we couldnt see each other. I opened the box and held it just behind the pillow out of view.

I tapped her shoulder, she kicked my feet.

I tapped again, this time she got my shin.

One more time, this time she went for gold and got me in the nuts.

The box was open, the only thing in the way was the pillow. I moved it and as I did I asked the question.

"Will you marry me?"

Nicoles face beamed in a way I've never seen. Her eyes literally lit up as she saw the open box and she heard the question.

"Yes!" She said and I know my face must have beamed just as bright.

And just like that, on a random Saturday morning lying in bed, my life changed forever :)

Aerosmith - "Amazing"
Reason - Like the song says "It's Amazing, with the blink of an eye you finally see the light, It's Amazing when the moment arrives that you know you'll be alright..."

It's Amazing!!!

Thanks for reading,
Dare to Dream,

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