How We Met (a tale of shoddy appliances, dangling undergarments, and a God Who planned it all)


Our dryer broke last week.

It's okay.  It had this same issue before and Brian knew what it was. I'm very thankful that the inconvenience only lasted a week, the part came in earlier than expected, and he is a capable, awesome husband and was able to fix it himself.  We just did a lot of clothing inspection to see if things are really dirty (I mean, it doesn't smell, right?) and my laundry system works pretty well for a situation like this.  I had my quaint little line draped across the laundry room to hang dry the underwear and socks and things that do need to be washed every few days (though it was at the risk of being - literally - clotheslined when you walked in unsuspectingly).  In a weird way, it was kind of fun, despite the hanging undergarments that flagged the room right next to our entry door and how blessed am I that I have a husband that intuitively just seems to know how to fix things like that?

Which reminds me.

I've never told you the story of how we met, how this whole family we've got going on here, all began, have I?

It all started with a similar broken dryer and similar dangling undergarments.  Or a tad bit before, I guess.

Ahem.  Prepare thyself for the romance.


Once up on a time in a time before Facebook and smartphones, in a time where a blog was a new and ridiculous concept, a whole thirteen years ago, there was another broken dryer.
This was in the land of college.  The land where you sleep when you want and eat things that have barely the capacity to sustain life (and yet they somehow do) and where you and your housemates light dozens of candles to somehow make up for needing to keep the heat at 58 degrees because even split among six people, a several hundred dollar gas bill from an ancient drafty old house is impossible to pay.  (That doesn't work, by the way.  But the ambience was nice even if I did twice set my hair on fire.)  I had just returned from a summer spent interning in Colorado and it had been a summer filled with peace and joy and an interior knowledge growing in me that God had something around the corner.  I had no idea what but I was in a beautiful, freeing place where I had no preference.  

I wasn't supposed to live there.  I had made plans to live in a different house with a group of people I didn't really know all that well.  But it was so much cheaper than living on campus and I was beginning to resent the dorm life.  I had one semester to go and would graduate in December.  The plan was sketchy at best but it was college and who needs to plan things like where you're going to live and all, right?  So I showed up at this house of the girl who was a household sister but whom I didn't know well at all on that late afternoon in August ready to meet my new housemates.  I can't even place her name now.  My little stick shift Mazda Protege was packed full of everything I would need to survive the next few months and I went in.  She welcomed me in and things were just…off.  I got really uncomfortable when I saw the house had a bunch of random people in it that I didn't know.  "This is Joe…he's needing a place to stay for a bit so he's going to be here, too.  Hope that's okay."  Umm…okay?  As I was taking the tour the direction of the conversation I was overhearing threw up more flags.  There were snippets about getting high and parties to plan and who would sleep where…and it smelled funny already.  I was feeling more and more like this was not the place I was supposed to be and knew I couldn't stay.  I excused myself somehow, I don't really remember how, and drove off.  I dialed the number of another household sister who had called once during the summer hearing that I might need a place to stay and they had one if I needed it.  I had declined at the time thinking I was all set.

"Umm…Mary?  (Yes, another Mary.  It was Steubenville, after all.)  Is there, um...still space at your house?"

Thank God there was.
I called and cancelled on the other place.

Fast forward a week or two.  
Moved in.  Bonding with the new housemates.  Old huge drafty house with six girls.  Lots of pasta and beer.

The dryer breaks.

Six women in one house and it was kind of a big deal to get it fixed.

One of my housemates was good friends with this kid who lived on lower campus who offered to come look at it for us.  His name was Brian and he claimed he might be able to figure out what was wrong and fix it.  We obviously knew our landlord well enough to know that going that route wouldn't be fruitful.  So the two of them decided a time for him to come over and check it out.  I, however, was not let in on the plan.

When he came and knocked on the door that late summer evening, I was sitting on the floor in the living room, beer bottle in hand, donned in some sort of pajama pants and tank top getup watching I have no idea what on TV.  I was in the midst of some necessary laundry doing and all my undergarments were at that very moment bannering the basement makeshift clothesline.  I jumped at the knock, hastily and awkwardly covering myself while he told me why he was there.  I stammered out that I'd be right back while I hustled downstairs to hide a little bit of my wardrobe from view.  It would've been awkward no matter who it was but this guy was kind of cute to boot.  As I was pulling them down and hurriedly clothing myself in a damp bra to save myself a little bit of embarrassment, he came down the stairs.  Having a hint of what I was doing, he fumbled out, "It's okay, I have a sister." (#awkward)

I hastily collected the rest of my things and booked it upstairs while he checked out the dryer.  (Later confession:  "I don't think I had any idea what I was doing.")

And that was that.  Amidst the dangling underwear, I had met my future husband.

He actually did figure out that the plug needed replacing, drove out to the appliance store a day or two later and got it for us, and proceeded to fix the dryer.  To this day, I still think that must've been part of what hooked me in.  Even if he had no idea what he was doing on the inside, there definitely is something about a guy who is willing to take a look and try.  I'm not sure I could ever be married to someone who wasn't handy.  Much to his sometimes chagrin, I still think Brian is able to fix, create, or do anything around the house or pretty much anywhere.  I'm usually right.

A few days after the dryer incident we think he came over to hang out with a big group of people on our porch.  I don't remember much of that but we must've chatted or at least clicked somehow because a few days later he and the housemate conveniently arranged that we would join up with some friends at the Pittsburgh Irish Fest.  Because of differing schedules, the three of us would have to drive together.  They were tricky.  I have vague memories of lemon ice, beer, Irish music, a pick up truck (interior me:  He has a pick up truck!!!!), the Corrs playing on the radio, and a very late night drive home.

A few days later he asked me out on our first official date and that was that.  I was hooked.

Babies!  (And probably the only picture I will ever show you from that era…)

Six months later we were engaged and six months after that (much to the shock and concern of some friends and family), we got hitched.

 It's amazing to me looking back.  Six new people (and who knows how many more), a marriage of some crazy ups and downs, and a whole life I never would have planned…all because of a shoddy dryer, some dangling undergarments and a God Who planned it all. 

Learning from the best how to capture a lady's heart




22 comments

  1. love it mary. and love brain too ;) nothing more attractive than a guy who can 'do' things. but acts of service is my love language, so i might be a tad bit biased. only thing that can revival it is a guy who loves God...and children. especially one that will go grocery shopping for you every saturday with all of them. we are blessed :)

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  2. pssst. i think we should compare pre-kid pics some night. just sit down with a bottle of wine and lots of chocolates and have a good laugh. spoiler alert: i was sporting corn rolls, blonde hair and a turquoise dress from millenium at my last dance. yikes!

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    1. HAHAHA…corn rolls?!?!? Seriously? And I thought my Demi Moore Ghost hair was bad. You hooked me in. We're on.

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    2. ok, see you tonight. jp can hold the fort down, right? ;)

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  3. Cute story! Brian is still a good sport to fix everything, including appliances. My husband can fix a lot, but he draws the line at appliances and plumbing. ;-) We were college sweethearts, too.

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    1. Thanks, Barbara! I think he'd like to draw the line sometimes but then I flutter my eyelashes and somehow it gets done ;)

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  4. This brought me a huge smile. Going through all the pics for Paul, I ran across your 'shower' pictures. I will have to take pictures of them and send them to you. They made me smile. Go you for being such a crazy gal and marrying that man! :)

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    1. I totally forgot about that shower!!! Oh man. I'm scared to see the pictures!

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  5. When you came to our house that Christmas, I knew you were perfect for each other. And yes it was hard to believe that you would be married the next August. I guess when God starts the wheels rolling, it doesn't make sense to put on the breaks!

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  6. Seriously, I know I meant to type brakes.

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  7. Love your story! Steubie college sweethearts, it couldn't get much better ;)

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  8. I love hearing these kinds of stories. I'm smiling so big for you guys.

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  9. Love the story - don't think I've heard it. Awkward beginnings are the best....

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  10. I love "how we met" stories. Yours rocks!

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  11. Awwww!!! That is so cute! What a sweet story; I love the kind of awkward first-meeting, too. Totally made my day, Mary. =)

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  12. Awe what a beautiful story:) and yep something about a guy who can fix anything (have one of those myself) I have a question for Brian, was he interested from the start? is this why he came back so casually the second time?
    love the pic of the boys helping Brian:) and thought you'd be interested here in Australia we rarely use our dryers, I hang my clothes on the line daily

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    1. He says so! I think it was at the porch hanging out time that he decided he should pursue things further and worked out the sneaky Irish fest thing. I would LOVE to hang my laundry all year! Alas, it's ten degrees here :(

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  13. That is fabulous. I love to see the way God brings people together, admist broken dryers and unmentionables. Love it.

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  14. This is my favorite! So fun! And, you must be in my head because I'm determined on getting our How We Met post up on Friday (our anniversary)! Fingers crossed I can join you on sharing! Also, I have like three of your posts saved on my desktop that I just haven't been able to read yet! Maybe this weekend? Either way, this was such a fun share! I always love how we met stories!

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    1. I hope you get yours up! I'd love to read it :)

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  15. What fun!! My hubs is super handy too! I can't imagine an un-handy hubby!! We're high school sweethearts! Talk about some crazy pictures from our past! Wouldn't trade them for the world though! Thanks for sharing your sweet story! I wrote about our story on my blog (that I am terrible at keeping up to date!) here: http://tryingtoletgoandletgod.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-love.html?m=0

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    1. Ah, high school sweethearts! So sweet! I love the idea of that, though I have to admit that I thank the good Lord that I didn't end up with any of mine ;)

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