How I met my wife… A Thanksgiving love story filled with strange coincidences, bold decisions, and of course, hockey.

November 24th, 2006 marked the 5-year anniversary of the day my wife Meredith and I met. I know this for sure because I have the souvenir Ray Borque hockey puck that the Avalanche gave out that night.

That’s right, Meredith and I met at an Avalanche game. They beat Edmonton that night. The full story is a good one, and many of you have asked about it over the years, so I decided to take a month off from writing about pulled hamstrings and torn rotator cuffs…

Sometime around November 1, 2001…

Sitting at the desk of the old Denver Chiropractic Center in that dumpy little building on Yale, I was wasting time on eBay. The girl I had been dating for a few months, we’ll call her Miss Mood-Swings (name changed & more on her later) had recently mentioned that she’d like to go to a hockey game. So I thought, “What the hey, I’ll bid on some Avs tickets.”

The game was on a Saturday night, Thanksgiving weekend against Edmonton. The current price was around $100. So I bid the minimum, $102.50.

Immediately, I regretted it. “That’s way too much for hockey tickets, what was I thinking?” There were 4 days left on the auction, so I knew I’d be outbid and get off the hook. I thought nothing more of it.

Sometime around November 5, 2001…

I get the email from eBay that I’ve “won” the auction. I have 3 days to pick up the tickets (from a scalping agency). I grudgingly go and fork over $102.50 for a pair of $25 Avs tickets. I’ve been ripped off. The seats are literally in the very tippy top row of the Pepsi Center. I’m pretty sure the high maintenance Miss Mood-Swings will not be impressed.

Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2001 (two days before the Avs Game)…

At around noon that day, I ask Miss Mood-Swings where she’d like to go for Thanksgiving dinner. You see, her parents, though very nice, were strict vegans. I didn’t really want to eat Tofu loaf on my favorite holiday.

Miss Mood-Swings was furious. “I can’t believe you haven’t already made reservations somewhere. I mean, it’s Thanksgiving, and if you really cared about making sure I have a nice Thanksgiving then this should already have been taken care of. Seriously, what the hell is the matter with you?” Her emotional intensity seemed excessive. Most of you who are reading this are married. But you might remember what I’m talking about here: You know how sometimes you’re dating someone, and you know that person ain’t the one, but for some reason you haven’t managed to end it? By Thanksgiving Day, 2001, that’s where I was with Miss Mood-Swings.

Her angry Thanksgiving outburst was the last straw. Yes, I probably should have made a reservation, but that was no justification for her fury. It was another one of those mood swings that made her Miss Mood-Swings.

I said to her, “I’ve had enough.”

She stormed out of my house, slammed the door, and wasn’t heard from for a very long time. Strangely, after she left, all 3 of my dogs, including the deaf one, came to me with tails wagging and looking very happy. I guess they knew. I went to Boston Market and got a reasonable facsimile of Thanksgiving Dinner and ate it by myself.

Here’s where things get a little strange.

Friday, November 23, 2001…

I worked the Friday after Thanksgiving. One of the massage therapists, whose name I will also change, came charging through the door in a huff. We’ll call her Sarah. She looked at me and demanded, “If you had tickets for Ray Borque’s retirement night, would you lose them in your own house?”

“Uh, no,” I replied.

I very quickly was told that Sarah and her husband were huge Avalanche and Ray Borque fans. His boss had given them tickets for that game, and somehow Sarah’s husband lost them. What was even worse, he managed to get a buddy of his to take him to the game, leaving a very angry Sarah out in the cold.

“Sarah, you’re in luck,” I said. “I dumped Miss Mood-Swings yesterday. I have tickets for the game tomorrow, and I was going to give them away. If you want to go, I’ll take you.”

Sarah was shocked and pleased. Not only did she dislike Miss Mood-Swings, she was going to see Ray Borque’s retirement ceremony after all.

Meanwhile, on the other side of town (actually east of the city), Meredith, my unknowing future wife, was stuck. Her Canadian friend Wayne had two tickets to see his beloved Edmonton Oilers play. Since he hadn’t been living in Denver for too long, he really didn’t have anyone to go with. He asked his co-worker Meredith to go with him. She had little interest in hockey, but Wayne was her friend, so she said yes.

Saturday, November 24, 2001…

Game day. I meet Sarah and her very grateful husband at the Pepsi Center. Sarah and I make the long trudge to our seats in the very last row. She cries during the Ray Borque thing. Anyway, Sarah and a pretty blonde girl (Meredith) are seated next to each other.

I wasn’t really paying too much attention to their interactions. I was feeling the joyous freedom of no longer having to deal with Miss Mood-Swings. I was watching some hockey and eating some hotdogs.

After the first period, it started. Sarah said to me, “Hey this girl sitting next to me is pretty cute, I’m going to pick her up for you.”

“No!” I said. “I need a few months off from women. I want to eat like a pig and get fat over the holidays, then lose the weight in January. I’ll start dating again after Valentine’s Day.”

Sarah wasn’t buying it. “You’ll just get back together with Miss Mood-Swings. She’s awful. You need to meet someone else. I’m picking this chick up.”

And that’s how it began. Sarah started telling Meredith that I’m a chiropractor. Meredith told us she worked for an explosives company. That caught my attention. She exploded stuff for a living. (She’s since changed jobs).

By the start of the third period, Sarah and I had switched seats. Meredith and I exchanged cards. You know how sometimes you just “know.” Well, I kind of knew.

Unfortunately, Meredith didn’t. I won’t really get into to those details. I won’t tell you about how she wouldn’t go out with me at first. In fact, she said she was dating someone, and we could be friends. Undeterred, I soldiered on.

About 3 weeks later she finally, grudgingly agreed to meet me for coffee. At 7:45 in the morning. On a Tuesday. She was 40 minutes late, and had to leave early. I think she gave me about 10 minutes of her time.

During those 10 minutes, I successfully upgraded to dinner the following Sunday night.

She cancelled on Sunday afternoon. I got her to re-schedule for Monday night. She was 45 minutes late and said she couldn’t stay too long because her dog was in the car.

Seriously, most guys probably would have quit, but not me. I had 5 more dates with her in the next three weeks, including New Year’s Eve. Clearly, I was growing on her. By March, we were engaged. In October we were in Hawaii getting married on a beach. Two and a half years later, we had a son (Andrew, now almost a year and a half old).

So, looking back, I’m thankful (this is the Thanksgiving newsletter, after all) for a bunch of stuff that happened 5 years ago:

  1. That I bid on and “won” very overpriced Avs tickets. If even one person had outbid me, I wouldn’t have been at that game.
  2. That Miss Mood-Swings had the big tantrum on Thanksgiving Day, 2001. If I had taken her to that game, I seriously doubt that she would have picked up Meredith for me, to use Sarah’s words.
  3. That Sarah’s husband actually managed to lose hockey tickets. If Sarah hadn’t been so keen on going to that game, I would have given the tickets to a patient.
  4. That Meredith finally gave me that 7:45 AM coffee date. Let’s face it, we all know that was bullsh*t pity date, and I may have been a little pathetic for accepting it. But hey, it’s not so pathetic if you end up marrying the girl.

Obviously, I’m thankful that I was smart enough to marry Meredith. And of course I’m infinitely thankful for our son, Andrew. And a bunch of other stuff. But that’s enough for now.