for the love of coffee

Since this blog is based on my life as a married woman, I thought it would be fun to share the story of how I met my husband. Plus, I think it’s a sweet tale that should be documented and shared.  Note: I know that this is super long for a blog post, but it doesn’t seem right to break this up into a series.  Enjoy!


It was my final Spring semester at SDSU (2009), and I worked at a coffee shop in downtown San Diego. My senior year wasn’t going totally as planned, so my goals for the months before graduation were to do my best in class, have fun making memories and hope for a real job. Any clear plan or ambition was wiped out by a couple of life-changing events in 2008, and I was in a sort of robotic “get it done” mode.

I remember the first couple of months being fun. I was doing well in my classes and picked up an internship as a writer for an e-commerce start-up company. I was busy, and felt productive. Outside of class and work, I was bar-hopping with co-workers or driving over the bridge to Coronado to hang out with my cousin and his Navy buddies. I was in an independent college girl groove.

That February, I finally got up the courage to try a local hairstylist recommended by a friend.  I asked her to chop off my long, California locks. Now, ladies, you know when a girl chops her hair, she is going through something!  That was certainly true for me in that moment.  Going into the appointment, I imagined taking my length to just brushing my shoulders.  The hairstylist recommended going a bit shorter due to the inevitably annoying flare-out that would occur, and I obliged.  At the end of the appointment, my roommate was gushing about how grown-up and professional I looked, which totally boosted my confidence in the rash decision to totally change my look.  I felt empowered.

Sometime between the great haircut and Spring Break, I noticed a guy. A customer. Nothing major happened when he ordered, and I was usually too sleep-deprived to really pay attention at first. Plus, he wasn’t exactly a regular, at least not during my opening shifts. But he caught my eye.

In the weeks following, he showed up sporadically.  Eventually, I realized he came in on Monday mornings.  At some point, one of us would show effort during the transaction and ask “how are you today?”

I mentioned him to my manager – I think my words were along the lines of “that one guy always looks at me; one of the guys from the hotel down the street; he orders a medium coffee” – and I was obviously interested.

I looked forward to seeing him on Mondays. Sometimes he seemed interested and smiled, other times he walked to the cream and sugar bar and went without looking at me on his way out. Obviously, I noticed. Obviously, I wanted him to talk to me.

Once, I saw him mid-morning on a Wednesday or Thursday.  He had a newspaper under his arm.  I think that was the first time he stopped on his way out.  He introduced himself (we totally shook hands) and asked if I only work in the mornings. “Yeah, because I have school,” I replied. “Where’s school?” he asked. “State. I’m graduating in May.”  That was like the best day ever.

After that, I always looked for Sean – the guy from the hotel down the street that orders a medium coffee. The one with the green eyes.  And I always wanted him to ask me out.

In May, I went home for my cousin’s college graduation, and to party. I danced all night at TAO, outlasting everyone in our group except my friend who happened to be my ride and eventually dragged me out of there around 4:30 or 5 a.m.  I didn’t even know the club was open that late!  I have a foggy memory of my dad telling me to change my flight because I was not going to make it out on the first one – embarrassing.

The next morning, on a Monday, I slept through my alarm and rushed to get dressed for work.  I skipped the makeup entirely and pinned my bangs back. As I hurried to open the shop, I thought about Sean and hoped I would get to see him.  I also told myself that if he showed up and did not ask me out, I would be over him.  Independent college girl, remember?

That very morning, Monday, May 11, 2009, Sean was the first person to walk into the coffee shop.  This time, when he asked how I was doing, I told him I was tired.  He said he was tired of being downtown.  I asked if he lived downtown, and he said no way.  I think I proceeded to ask if he was from the area, and he said he moved there for school 10 years ago. Later, I would (as any girl would) do the math in my head and figured that he was 28.

I wanted to keep the conversation going without being overly-excited, so I asked if he had a good weekend. Then I told him that I went home, to Vegas and went clubbing until 5 a.m., so I was still tired.  Then he said, “Your hair is different.”  And I snapped “yeah because I didn’t do it today!” Then he clarified – it’s shorter than it used to be, and he’s noticed.

At that point, to both of our dismay, another customer walked in the door. I remember being immediately annoyed because the customer who walked in was a regular 8 a.m. patron.  Today he was early, and he still ordered his usual breakfast sandwich. Sean went to put cream and sugar in his coffee, and as I made the fastest ham, egg and cheese bagel sandwich ever, he took a seat.

I got that customer out the door, and nervously, I made myself look busy behind the counter. I was working, after all.

With my back turned to the register, I heard Sean say, “Want to go to lunch with me tomorrow?”

And, like any hopeful and interested 21-year-old woman, I turned and said, “What?”

He repeated, and then I told him I had classes in the afternoon. “What, are you trying to get away from me now?” Oh, he’s got jokes. And green eyes.

“No, no. OK, I could meet you between my classes…”

“Oh, wait. I can’t, I have to be somewhere at 2:30 tomorrow.” Um, OK, homie.

“What, are you trying to get out of this now?” I got jokes, too.

We set a date for Wednesday at 1:00 at a cafe downtown.

On the eve of our first lunch, I talked to my eldest sister on the phone and told her I had a date with a customer. “Shea!” she was excited. “What if he’s THE ONE?! And you met at a coffee shop?!” She loves movies.  I laughed it off and probably told her she was nuts, and said “it’s just a date.”

But in my mind, I was like of course he’s the one.

I don’t have anything incredibly epic to tell you about our first date. I showed up a little late and ordered the summer salad. Conversation was light and easy and comfortable. He asked about growing up in Las Vegas, and we chatted about journalism. I had a final presentation in my next class, and as he walked me back to the parking garage in the mall, he asked me out on our second date. We would go to a Padres game that Friday night and finally exchanged phone numbers just before we said goodbye and I walked into Nordstrom.

I felt relieved that we had our first date over with, and we could move on.

That afternoon, a friend asked why I was actually dressed in jeans and heels since I was typically in gym clothes.  I had a date.  He asked how it went, if we hit it off.  “Well yeah, we have a second date on Friday.  We’re going to a Padres game.”  He said, “Shea, do you know anything about baseball?”

It didn’t matter.

They say that when you know, you know.  And I knew that I knew, that I knew this was it.

And now, nearly six years after our first date, every coffee date is a celebration and a reminder of those first moments.

How did you meet your husband/fiance/boyfriend? 

xo, s

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