Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Little Story Of Us

I've gotten a lot of comments asking me how I write such swoony men. 
That my husband must be some kind of man for me to produce the likes of Caleb, Merrick and Eli. Well, he is. And here is our little tale.


Let me start my sweet little story with this…
My husband, Axel, hated me. 
Yes, hated me, when we first met.
Our hometowns are not fond of each other, but we started working at the same Burger King after school. So, sadly, we spent a couple of weeks trying to avoid each other. I sat at the break table all alone while he and his friend who worked with us sat off by themselves. It was a sad situation. I thought he didn't like my super curly hair or that I smelled so I started applying even more Hawaiian Ginger before work and was soon dubbed "Ginger Girl". Nothing got this guys attention, until we were forced to work together in the drive-thru. I learned he wasn't a jerk, but just a shy guy who had made assumptions. And he learned that I wasn't really even from that town, just stuck there for my last couple years of school because my mom had moved us there.
      Still the guy didn't ask me out. So, I started dating someone else. What else could I do, right? The new guy was completely over the top and used to bring me roses to work. I know it sounds sweet, but it was beginning to be a little creepy when he'd come and sit in the parking lot.
      And then Axel's friend we worked with asked me out to my high school football game. I was stunned of course, because number one, he had a girlfriend...of sorts. And number two, he knew of my crush on Axel. Well, lucky me, when I showed up and Axel was there in the bleachers. It was pretty obvious it was a setup. I remember feeling ecstatic and strangely happy that Axels friend hadn't really asked me out. We sat beside each other the whole time.
      It was all history from there.
      Our relationship was swift moving, all consuming and breathtaking. All the things teenage girls think about. I knew by our third date that I was going to marry that boy. And I did. After a certain question was asked in the parking lot of the Folkston, Ga Mcdonald's at 2 in the morning, it was set.
      One year after our graduation we married, both at 19. (I don't condone or oppose teenage marriage, these are just the facts for me)
      He soon started a band and they played in Jacksonville for about a year and a half. They were sooooo good and I'm not just being biased. That was a fantastic time in our lives, but when little Crane boy #1 came along, we had to put it all away. Though Yoko I was not, we both knew that it was just for fun and would never be anything more.
      So we got real jobs, had real kids, lived real lives and have been real happy ever since. And after 11 years of marriage, I still love that man with my whole being.
      He's my significant, my hubs, my babe.

The facts:
-Our first kiss was in the last row of the Kingsland, Ga theater during Galaxy Quest. I initiated.

-Even though I'd had boyfriends before my husband, I'd never been taken to dinner before him. Sad isn't it?

-I broke curfew most of the time because I thought it was worth the grounding to spend more time with Axel, even though we usually wound up just sitting in my yard talking.

-On our second date, he drove 117 mph down the Dames Point bridge in Jacksonville, Fl at 10:30 p.m. trying to get me home on time. We failed J

-We listened to Weezer's Blue Album for months when we first started dating everywhere we went. In fact, my first son is named from a Weezer song.

-Axel, my then boyfriend, used to write notes or drawings to me on Whopper wrapper paper and leave them on my windshield every day for when I got off work.

-We've moved 12 times since we've been married.

-That scene from Accordance where Maggie is standing in front of the stage watching Caleb and the girl comes in. She then curses and huffs off when she figures out Caleb's taken. That totally happened to me. My husband actually said that when he wore his wedding ring, he got hit on more than when not. (At his job, he wasn't allowed to wear it for safety reasons and would sometimes forget it before shows.) Needless to say that I never, ever missed a show J

-I converted to Pepsi and renounced Coke for that boy J

-Axel surprises me almost every year on my birthday with an outing that I have no knowledge of where we're going\doing.

-Our wedding invitations were lost at the Post Office, unbeknownst to us, so there was only about fifteen people that showed up at our wedding. But that was just fine with me; less people to see me boohooing, which I did plenty of.

-When I was pregnant, all I wanted to eat was watermelon. Day and night, night and day, watermelon.

-Our favorite pastime then was concerts\gigs. Our favorite pastime now? Homebodies and we love it. Go figure.

-Axel and I never got a honeymoon, or even went on a vacation or weekend together, until a couple of weeks ago when we went to Vegas. It was high time for a honeymoon in my book!

-I stayed behind when my husband snuck behind stage at the Weezer/Cold War Kids concert. I was too chicken, but he met 3 of the 4 members and they thought it was funny that he snuck backstage and signed his ticket.

-I was a Burger King manager at 17, then a Home Health agency secretary, a dry cleaner front desk girl, a Sears Charge Card bill collector, a Sonny's BBQ waitress, an insurance billing coordinator for an um…Anal doctor…uhum, and a Blue Cross Blue Shield customer service rep before settling into my stay at home mom role.

-We once had a whole month where we ate nothing but macaroni & cheese and meatless spaghetti because we couldn't afford anything else.

-My husband's favorite food is spaghetti…with meat J chicken to be exact. My favorite food is anything that's not Burger King. It makes me smell the back broiler just thinking about it…

-We went through a period where every single car we had\borrowed\bought broke down. 7 in a row within 2 weeks. 7! One would break down, we'd borrow one, that would break down. We'd buy another one and get in a car accident (while I was pregnant) then trade for another one and it would break down. It got to the point where no one would lend us their car, ever, or even let us ride with them because it was like we were cursed. It was a crazy and unbelievably frustrating time in our lives.

-I was in labor for 13 hours with my first son before a c-section. I went into labor on my due date at 4 in the morning with my second and he was here within two hours by c-section. Sadly because of the epidurals, I can remember hardly anything of either birth. :( 

-My husband hates reality TV with a fiery passion that burns in his soul. I LOVE it! Love in the Wild, Kitchen Nightmares, American Idol, America's Got Talent, Extreme Home Makeover, The Voice, Bayou Billionaires, Gator Boys, Redneck Island. I could probably go on if I thought hard. 

-Lastly, if you came to my house today, you'd see about a million paperbacks lining my walls, you'd see a million pictures of my boys, you'd see Lego's and Bey Blades everywhere, my two dogs, Scrappy and Biff, sitting in front of their fan to block the Florida heat, my idea notes and notebooks scattered in every room for easy access, my husband's guitars and tab sheets, you'd see a watermelon on my counter and real sweet tea in the fridge.

      Why tell you all this? Two reasons.
      One, because everyone thinks to write such swoony men that my hubs must be a gem. And he absolutely is. Proof above.

For two. Well, at the last book signing I did, we talked to some of the kids that were there. And I always get told the same thing at least once: "I want to be a writer when I grow up, but…" fill in the blank.

      Ok, just take the "but" out and you'll be fine. If you want to be a writer, then go and be a writer. If you want to sing, go find an open mic night. If you wanna be a firewoman, go do that. If you wanna go and be a freaking clown at the circus! Go do that. 
See, that's the thing. I was nothing special as you can see above. I came from being a girl who had no ambition to be more, I was happy in my role as mom and wife, still am, but this writing thing sorta fell into my lap. I followed a moment's worth of intrigue and instinct to start typing a story in my mind and am so glad that I did.
      If you want to do it, it should just flow. You should think about it day and night and it should make you happy to do it. Don't fret and delete, delete then fret some more. If you enjoy it and it was fun to write, then that's your niche. Keep at it.
      Write for YOU and no one else.
      I am so incredibly, boringly normal, but I now live such a dream. Thank you for coming along for the journey.


  1. misty-eyed, would be an understatement. Thanks for sharing this swoon-worthy story...and letting everyone know that men like this...loves like this CAN exist outside the pages of a book.

  2. I love you Shelly! You all are so cute. Great story. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Ok that was so worth reading from my phone. Beautiful!!!

  4. Aww, y'all have a perfect love story! :)

  5. Victoria StowellJuly 14, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Loved this story!! Have you ever thought about writing another series, but about how you guys got together??

  6. I LOVE it! Thanks so much for sharing that!

  7. Oh my. Thats such a wonderful life story. :) thank you so much for sharing it.

  8. Awww, this is so sweet <3 <3 I love your story ;)

  9. Catherine Moore: 117 Miles an hour! You are grounded Shelly and so is Axel, lol.
    Axel is the best son-inlaw ever there was and an incredible father to my grandchildren. The thing I love most about him is how much he loves my daughter! He is a hard worker but always has time for his family. Thanks for being the man you are. Love ya Axel!

  10. That was so sweet and adorable!<3

  11. FRIGGIN' AWESOME!!!! Yes, I used shouty caps and exclamation marks.

    Shelly...your love story with your husband is so incredibly similar to mine that it's freaky!!!! (Yes, exclamation marks again.) We will have to discuss this next time we get together. XOXO

    1. Oh, yes, please! :) Can't wait for that convo!

  12. I hate to be rude but do u have any idea of when Indepenence is coming out? I am in LOVE with all ur stories and have reread the Significant series more than 3 times to keep my mind fresh on Caleb and Maggie. Cant wait!!

    1. End of the year sometime :) Thank you!

  13. I don't think there is a person that either lives in or near Jacksonville that isn't guilty of speeding on the Dames Point Bridge at some point in their life haha.

    1. I know right? I still can't stand to drive over it! ;)

  14. Heck yeah, he's a little of all your men you write about! Thanks for sharing your sweet story. You're an inspiration to all of us who have dreams. Makes me want to write afraid to try, lol. Keep up the great work, Shelly! With inspiration like you've got, we'll never be worried. ;)

  15. Thanks for the inspiration to just do what I love and to just forget about everything else. Not everyone is going to like everything so thanks for the reminder to send away the negativity. Your story is so normal and yet so special because you shared it. Thanks! By the way, I saw the videos you made for the utopYA Con wins you got and it is nice to see just how normal you are! I feel like we are friends already (and not in some creepy sitting in the parking lot at McD's and stalking you way!) and hope someday to actually meet you!

  16. You have such a sweet story Shelly! And you said that your husband gave you inspiration for your male characters, could you please tell me which one is most like your husband? :)

  17. This is so sweet!! OMG how cute! I got married at 18 and am still with my husband... Sometimes you just know :)