This Man


When we first met, I didn’t see this coming at all. How did we end up here? We started on this journey carrying a ton of baggage, broken, disillusioned, hardened, and with enormous walls guarding our hearts. Neither of us thought love was on our horizon or even remotely possible.  But here I sit writing about “this man” 3 years later.


Many have asked how we met so I will share the story:


Our initial meeting was at a networking event. We were introduced by a mutual friend, Lee Farb. We exchanged pleasantries and carried on networking and meeting other people. We both meet a lot of people and many times people are quickly forgotten but I did remember this character. He was loud and large and quite full of himself. I thought he was a bit weird but at least he made an impression. We continued to see each other at other networking events over the next few months and I spoke to him a little more but not extensively. I really didn’t know what he did for a living. I thought he was married and never even looked at him as a potential date. I had also made it a rule to NEVER (never say never) date anyone I knew from networking.


At one particular networking luncheon, “this man” stood up when it was his turn to introduce himself to the room and stated his name and that he was here to see Kathryn Wheat (me)! Let me reiterate, we barely knew each other. When my best friend and business partner, Cindy Dennen, heard him she warned me that he was about to be moved to the #1 position on my stalker list. You see I did actually have a real live stalker. I wasn’t sure what “this man’s” intentions were towards me. Partner this with the fact that a mutual friend of ours, Dave Bamberg,  asked me on more than one occasion what I thought about “this man”. I suspected Dave was trying to play matchmaker, which was confusing since I was uncertain about his marital status.


“This man” had also started texting me cute little smiley things and other non-sense. Quite often, his text either went completely unanswered  or was answered several days later. I didn’t want to encourage him. At that time, my life was in a major transition. After a year and a half of trying, I was finally going to get my house sold. I had been divorced but had been stuck in the home and was trying desperately not to lose it to foreclosure during the downturn of the real estate market. My financial situation was difficult to say the least. I didn’t have time or energy for non-sense. But secretly, he did make me smile. And if I’m going to be honest, I did text him back late one night after an evening on the town with friends. I couldn’t believe he answered my text almost immediately since it was about 3:00 am. It made me feel a little giddy.


I had come to a place in my business where I was looking for advice on marketing possibilities. I called Dave Bamberg and told him what I was considering doing. I valued his opinion and needed some feedback. He then asked me if I had ever sat down and talked to “this man”. I told him no, I hadn’t. He urged me to talk to him before I made any decisions. At this point I was unsure if Dave wanted me to talk to him for business reasons or if this was part of his matchmaking efforts. So I called Cindy and told her we needed to schedule an appointment to talk to “this man”. She responded with a big sigh and exclaimed that in no way was I to meet with him by myself. I said of course not! You’re going with me. So I called him and asked if we could meet. He was very friendly and glad to hear from me. We scheduled our meeting for Monday, May 2, 2011.


The 3 of us sat down and began to talk. It was then that I began to think of him differently. I realized that he was so much more than what I thought. As we talked, I think I started falling in love. I could tell that Cindy was impressed with who “this man” was too. That day he helped open my eyes to so much that I had been missing in my business and in my personal life. Not only did he show me many ways to help my business grow but he also motivated and inspired me. He made me feel like maybe I could really make it on my own. He encouraged me to be courageous. I remember thinking, who is “this man”? His positivity was absolutely contagious!


Our meeting had been scheduled for only 30 minutes to an hour. FIVE hours later, Cindy had to leave us to go pick up her daughter from school. I know both of us felt like our heads would explode with all of the information that he was so freely providing. I was so excited because it was like the fog was lifted. So much was finally making sense to me. Why had I been so stand offish with “this man”? After Cindy left, we wrapped up our meeting and he asked me if I wanted to go have a glass of wine and get to know each other a little better. I said yes. I was so confused. He wasn’t at all who I thought he was and I still didn’t understand his marital status. We went to a wine bar and talked even more. It turned out that he wasn’t married.


We have been together ever since.


We both stepped into this unexpectedly, with reluctance and extreme caution. Neither of us was looking for love. It just hit us over the head and was quite impossible to ignore. So here I am 3 years later changed for the better and hopelessly in love with “this man”, Ronald Wilsher, who is honest, kind, brilliant, confident, positive, fair, strong, thoughtful, funny, giving, motivating, inspiring, loud, weird, quirky, often misunderstood and perfect for me.


Happy 3 year anniversary Ronny! I love you bunches!


And in an attempt to answer the question, “When is he gonna put a ring on it?”, all I can say is that if you look at our matching tattoos you can see our status. We are 2 hearts joined together by The Cross.

Tattoo Ronald Wilsher Kathryn Wheat

                      photo credit 2 Creative Birds


I might not be rocking the boat but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to set sail!

We never lose friends.


Don’t ever confuse politeness with agreement. Have you ever been pressured by a friend or an acquaintance to jump onboard with something that they are passionate about? I seem to get this a lot. While I am happy for others who have found something they absolutely love, I can’t possibly sail away on every ship in the sea! After all, I have my own ship to navigate! I would love to shore up everyone with encouragement but I’ve learned that seems to send conflicting signals.


Ok, enough with the sailing metaphors. Do you know people like this that push and push constantly? I try to be supportive and positive for them because I can plainly see their belief in and passion for what they do. I applaud them for working hard and living what they believe. But occasionally, my moral support gets mistaken for a desire to endorse and join the team. It makes for dangerous waters. (ok, sorry, I know I said no more sailing metaphors) How can one remain friends with a person that will not take a polite but subtle “no” for an answer?


I want to be clear that I am not talking about my friends who share their passion with me and allow me to support their endeavors with encouragement. I have many friends who work tirelessly to realize their dreams and who share their adventures and opportunities with me. I always appreciate the invitation that says, “Please join me even though I know you aren’t interested in pursuing my passion, I would just like to see your smiling face there.” When they say there is no pressure to join, I can believe them. I want to be there for them! These friends understand that I wish success for them but they don’t expect me to facilitate it.


This all comes back to setting boundaries, which I have previously written about. Some people will absolutely try to take advantage of a person if it looks like there may be an opening. They just don’t get the subtle way that you are telling them “no”. You must be painfully blunt and firm with these people or they will continue to pursue you.


Perhaps the real reason that they continue to chase you is that they don’t want to believe you. Or, they think that you are easy prey and they can change your mind. I’ve even had people try to corner me and separate me from the pack in order to try one last time to get me onboard. I guess they thought my answer would change if I were alone. I don’t even want to go into how rude and disrespectful that is. Like I said, I might not be rocking the boat but that doesn’t mean I’m ready to set sail!


When I get pushed into a corner I am forced to address things in a less polite manner. That’s when it becomes awkward and the friendship suffers. If you give people enough time, they will show you who they really are. Sometimes, we are disappointed.


The question that is begging to be asked here is: Are these people REALLY your friend? Would a genuine friend push you to the point that it becomes awkward? I don’t think so. When people like this come in and out of your life so abruptly, brush it off. They were never your real friends to start with.


Shampoo Bowl Shenanigans


Woman at Shampoo Bowl

Christmas is over and it’s time to get prepared to ring in the New Year.  You know what that means….off to the salon.  If you haven’t already made an appointment for hair and nails, then good luck getting in my friends!!  Kathryn and I have been going to Louis at Visible Changes over twenty years for our hair and we have seen and experienced all kinds of things at the salon.  It is a perfect place for people watching and such.  But one of things that we have always joked about is that you never know what is going to happen at the shampoo bowl!


Like most salons, Visible Changes position their new hires at the shampoo bowls.  Even though most of them already have their license, they must first start at an entry level and work up the seniority ladder.  So when we come to Louis for our hair we always anticipate the shampoo experience that is ahead of us.


Each individual comes with a different interpretation of what the perfect shampoo bowl experience should be.  Being the receiver of all of this is another story in itself.  Over the years I think Kathryn and I have lived through it all.  Mostly our shampoo experiences have been good along with some great scalp massages, but those are not necessarily the memorable ones, so we thought we would share.


First, you never know what kind of relationship your shampoo tech has with the water hose. I am always anxious to see if they have tamed the wily beast yet because if you are not careful it will turn on you in a second leaving everything in its path a wet mess. Sometimes they misinterpret where your hairline really is and you end up with your entire face washed clean!  Then there is the water speech….”Hot water opens the hair shaft and cold water closes it!!”. Grrrrreeaaat. Now I’m awake!!


Oh and you learn all the drama that is happening in their lives in under two minutes which most of time is really good stuff. Nothing like living your life vicariously through your shampoo tech.  For some people, it might seem annoying or too much to handle but for us it’s part of the visit which over the years we seem to look forward to. It reminds me of a quote by Forrest Gump. “ Life is like a box of chocolates you never know what your gonna get”.


Kathryn and I realize that attitude is everything.  Reacting to any situation with hostility or anger is counterproductive.  Learn to react with understanding and compassion and some laughter.  Don’t take things too seriously or the interesting things in life will pass you by. Quite honestly we have enjoyed our times at the shampoo bowl!!