I Love It When a Plan Comes Together

Love at first sight — it always seemed a silly notion to me until it happened.

It was more than six years ago that I had the T-Shirt Babe contest for IMAO. I had been thinking about it for a while as a way to help sell t-shirts and, more importantly, find out if I had any attractive readers, but I was pretty hesitant about it because I knew it could have been a huge disaster. What if no one entered — or only horrible candidates? But eventually I got over the idea of possibly looking foolish and took a risk.

And no one entered. At least in the first week, and I was panicking. My blog would be a mockery; everyone would laugh at me and my blog… which is like a million times worse than people laughing with my blog at others. But as the deadline came near, eventually numerous entries started coming in — all of them great entries.

And then I saw her. SarahK. And as far as I was concerned, the contest was over. There was our winner. There was the female face that best represented my blog. It was love at first sight.

Unfortunately, I had set it up so there were eight other guest judges, all with the same weight as my vote. They would pick five ranked choices, with their first choice getting five points down to the fifth choice getting one point. And as the judges sent in their votes, I realized she wasn’t the clear cut winner to the other judges like Harvey, John Hawkins, and the Puppy Blender because they were stupid, I guess. What I hadn’t thought of doing, though, was to have a third party count the votes and declare the winner.

Now wouldn’t it be a neat twist to reveal now — more than six years later — that I rigged the vote so SarahK won?

It would be, except I didn’t. She won fair and square. By one point. If she had lost, I don’t know what I would have done. It’s not that the second place winner was bad — it’s just she wasn’t SarahK so she was no one to me.

After she won, SarahK and I got to talking — and she was single and thought I was cool and stuff. And eventually she invited me to go hike the Grand Canyon with her. This was another thing I knew could be a big disaster. Not only had I not hiked or camped since I was a little kid, but I am not a very social person. I have a lot of anxieties and things that had sometimes made social interactions a hard thing for me. I worried that it would be a very terrible, awkward couple of days stuck with someone who would soon be fed up with me. My instant response was “no”, but somehow I pushed myself, and I agreed. And it was one of the greatest things in my life. I can’t even describe it. And the Grand Canyon was neat too.

So, I had a t-shirt babe contest thinking maybe I could meet a cute girl who liked my blog, and here I am now married to SarahK and about to be a father. It’s a fairy tale. Never in my life will another plan come together as well as that one. I am just unbelievably blessed.

I’ve heard it said that the command by God that is most often ignored is, “Be not afraid.” It’s a tough one we deal with constantly, but the greatest things in life will be done by overcoming your fears. So take a risk now and then and don’t worry about looking like a fool. If you can do that, who knows what you can do?

But you’ll still never be as awesome as me. Sorry.

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47 Comments

  1. Great story. In many ways I’m as awesomely lucky as you are. I got a great wife who’s put up with my silliness, audio hobby and my generally deranged behaviour for many years. We have a great son who’s recently made us grandfather who’s a real man and got himself a great wife and career.

    Congrats to you and the lovely Sarah K on becoming parents. It’s a royal hassle but the payoff is amazing. When you see little Princess Buttercup for the first time in your wife’s arms, well, you’ll know what the phrase “something special” is all about.

    OK, enough of the sappy stuff. When are you going to give us our Nuke The Moon and Fred Thompson Punch the Hippies shirts so we buy now? Douchebag. 🙂

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  2. I remember the T-short contest, carnival of the recipe’s Mountaineer Musings and the Grand Canyon pictures. As readers we’ve followed you guys for, well, years heh. We’ve laughed when you laughed, felt bad when you had issues and crossed fingers and prayed when ya’ll asked.

    That said it is absolutely awesome you guys have made it this far.

    Here’s to many happy returns for you and yours!

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  3. I enjoyed this post. Certainly the lesson is one to take to heart. I hate fairy tales, this is better than a fairy tale. Congratulations.

    However, awesome is a subjective thing, if we’re not talking about God. Thus, I can say I will be as awesome as you. Samuel L. Jackson can play both of us.

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  4. As a newcomer to the site, I had picked up a little of the tale here and there. This is the first time I have heard the entire truly awesome story. Best wishes to all three of you!

    Someday I may tell the slightly awesome tale of how I (USAF,Ret), with a USAF,Ret father, met and married my babe, (former MP, USA), with a USAF,Ret father and a former USN sister. Over 100 years of service between us all, I figure.

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  5. I have a similar story.

    I was in a strange city, staying in a hotel, and I was lonely. So, I told the secret service that I could really use a massage. They made some calls, and the next thing I know I opened up the door and there she was. She was gorgeous, and I could tell she was crazy about me. Like you, I knew she was the one true woman for me.

    I’m also usually a pretty awkward person, too, especially when making slide show presentations and things like that. But, this was different. She was different. Sure I had a gal at home, but she was stiffer than me…she got upset if she heard a curse word in a rock song, for God sake. So, I knew this was my one shot at true love and I was going to take it. It was fabulous. This beautiful masseuse couldn’t keep her hands off of me; she was like a sex-crazed poodle, and so was I. Sure, she kept saying “Stop”, “Don’t”, “I want to leave now”, but her eyes kept saying “Yes”. It was a beautiful evening that I’ll never forget, and I know she’ll always treasure our special evening as well.

    Al

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  6. What a nice story and thanks for sharing it. It is not often that Frank opens up about his weakness its usually all talk about past, current, or future super powers.

    On the other hand the show of emotions is obviously a sign of some disturbance. Tshirt girl has baby hormones so that is excused. I presume we can attribute Franks sudden emotional indulgence to exposure during “eclipse.” Just wear a gloves and a breathing mask when exposed to raw unfiltered emotionotanium ore.

    So did first contact go like this,

    Dear T-shirt contestant

    I am glad to inform you that you have won the recent IMAO blog T-shirt contest. We were all very impressed with your submission. For contest and website feed back was your husband/boyfriend very happy for you? I will need a home address to send your winnings also a home phone number you know “just in case”. Upon receiving your address I will bring it down to the post office since I will be out running anyway like I usually do this time of day. While I was sitting at work as a engineer I noticed that I had maybe pulled a muscle in my leg so please excuse if the one mile run to the post office takes me 7min and 30 secs instead of my normal 6min 45sec. Also I will be out canoeing this weekend and then stopping by to help my grandmother paint her garage, so if I dont receiving your address by Friday I wont be able to send it until Monday. My Grandma always tells me I should be out dating instead of off canoeing and running and also swimming but I tell her there has been a few very attractive girls but there personalities just didnt fit with me.

    anyway congratulations again on your winnings and thank you for being a loyal and “attractive” IMAO reader.

    yours (if you want me ha ha ha)
    Frnak G Flemming

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  7. Pay no attention to the nay-sayers and cynics Frank. It’s always great when a plan comes together. I hope you and Sarah K all the happiness that my sweet spouse and I have had for 33+years. It hasn’t always been good but that is where the real growth is. While it is easy to give up, nothing ties a couple together more firmly that overcoming adversity. Keep your chins up and lean on the arm of The Lord and your babies will be able to say of you “we have been born of goodly parents”.

    For me that’s right up there with “well done thou good and faithful servant….”

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  8. Very sweet! Old Irish Toast-

    Health for life to you,
    A wife of your choice to you,
    Land without rent to you,
    A child every year to you,
    And the light of heaven after this world for you.
    May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

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  9. Now I know that Princess Buttercup is truly the IMAO poster baby and heir to the Frank J. and SarahK Be Not Afraid Team that scours the universe for brainless misfits and eats them scattering their entrails across the milky way. I was not here when they had the tshirt babe contest but after seeing SaraK’s picture I think she was truly the one for Frank. Otherwise I would have entered.

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  10. Oh yah, I remember the TShirt Babe contest. That was right when I started reading (perhaps the reason I started? I can’t remember).

    Ah, those were the days. When there were good posts, like In My World, and not sappy girly crap like this. I could see Aquaman writing this post, not the guy who created the Nuke the Moon shirt.

    Actually, that is why I came to this site! That shirt!

    Makes sense to me.

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  11. Proverbs 31:10,11
    “A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.
    The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.”

    Congratulations!

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  12. A beautiful story. We are going to have to save the world from Obama so that all of us & our loved ones can live long, happy lives. I think it will take more than Aquaman & Wonder Woman in pants but I believe we are up to the task.

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  13. Frank,

    You’re a blessed man and so am I. I was socially backward when it came to women and somehow God blessed me with the beautiful woman who most nights reads IMAO with me on our iPhones and giggles while our own little princess falls asleep beside us. (We’re also being blessed with a little prince who’s on the way.) Thanks for being part of our lives even if it is in this strange electronic way. We pray God blessed you and SarahK and Princess Buttercup and whoever else comes along in a big way. Thanks for a great post.

    Chris

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  14. Amazing!
    Not the love story, but that Marko didn’t take the opportunity to beg for a Nuke the Moon T-Shirt re-release.

    Well the love story is amazing, too.
    Thanks for sharing, and keep on being ‘not afraid’!
    God bless the three of you.

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  15. Nice Story, and we are happy for both of you but isn’t this one appealing to the “chick” contingent in your readership? I mean, really? I still have a pair and enjoy reading about Nuking stuff and Mexicannons and a giant wall of fire between us and Mexico… I also enjoy Aqua(man?) and In My World which is more on the guys side. Un

    Unless Sarah K has put your balls into a lockbox somewhere… Just thinkin’

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  16. Very happy for you Frank…a little sappiness is allowed at times (and it keeps the other half reading). I actually stumbled onto IMAO through your beautiful bride’s site; been reading about her musings for a few years now. Don’t worry, once Princess B has been around for a while Sarah K will unlock the box.
    Congrats!

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  17. Frank & Sarah:

    Absolutely fantastic!!!!!!!!

    Frank, you are right about “Be not afraid” – trusting God, not “cleaning up your life” or “becoming a better Christian”, is the biggest challenge believers face.

    A couple years ago, I was in a very bad place – wife walked out after 25 years of marriage. I had a hard time seeing anything good coming from it. Fortunately, I had a very good God-placed friend who stood by me. He kept telling me “God has a plan for your life that is beyond your wildest dreams.” It wasn’t a ‘special’ message for me – he’s living God’s plan for himself (and I knew where he’d come from and gone through), so he had a huge measure of credibility.

    Two years later – – – the marriage ended in divorce …. and I’m closer to my kids than I have ever been, I’ve learned how many of the people I know really care, I’ve seen how God will use those around me to speak the right words at the right time, my values have changed in ways I know will bring blessing and, yes, I’ve met a wonderful lady who definitely presents the “beyond your wildest dreams” scenario (8 kids from 7 to 23 ….. yeah, I know).

    God bless you both.

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  18. awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! sweetly told. thanks for telling your story– a brave thing to do on the interwebs! and remember that “fear not!” and “be not afraid!” can be translated as “don’t run away.” really. so, it’s okay to be afraid so long as we go ahead and do what He wants us to.

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  19. Pingback: mountaineer musings » Blog Archive » Hot date

  20. Wait, so Glenn Reynolds helped you meet your wife and is in a real butterfly effect way responsible for the life of your soon-to-be-born child…

    And you still defame him as a man who puts puppies in a blender?

    Sheesh, what does it take to get you to lay off a guy!

    (all that is said in humorous tone. i know it can be hard to tell from just bare text. I mean yeah, i am teasing you a little, but in a nice way…)

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  21. I remember all of it as it was happening, and thinking “oh those wacky kids, some day they’ll have a baby and name it Cutterbup.” Srsly, I totally predicted it and was very close to the truth. I just didn’t tell anyone.

    Still mad at myself for missing your wedding that took place literally a few blocks from where I lived at the time. My punishment for avoiding email at crucial times.

    Anyway – love watching the story unfold. Can’t wait to see first pic of Buttercup in a Nuke the Moon shirt.

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  22. Nicely played Frank. I suggest you record yourself reading it and play it while SarahK is in labor. Maybe it will calm the urge she will have to shoot you!

    It doesn’t seem like six years. Are you sure you aren’t counting in dog years or something?

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