Friday, May 18, 2012

Go, Bean!

"So, how about you, Becky?  You're in college?"  The Bean leaned forward to take a sip of his Sam Adams, careful not to lean the elbows of his blue hoodie on anything sticky.

"Yeah, I'm working through the prerequisites to enter a nursing program."  My shift was over, but as I'd made a beeline for the door, anxious to escape the bar after eight hours of dealing with football fans, I'd seen him there.  I'd only stopped by to say a quick hello, but one thing led to another, and an hour later I was seated on the stool next to him, cocktail waitress apron on the bar by my elbow.

"Nursing, huh?"

"Yeah, I think I'll like it.  I mean, if I didn't have to worry about money, I might do something like a Creative Writing degree, or maybe even Spanish... or Sociology... maybe a translation degree..." I trailed off with a laugh. "None of the things I like really pay the bills, so nursing it is."

"Yeah, I know what you mean.  I was in school for engineering, but when I started making good money selling cars, I never quite finished." He took another sip of beer, and I studied his face from beneath my lashes.  Man, he had really nice eyes.  Those eyes were incredible.

"Oh, that sucks."  I sat there a moment, letting silence carry the weight of my sympathy.  He'd already complained to me about the way the car industry had tanked with the economy.  "How close were you to graduating?'

"I had one semester left."  He laughed, shook his head, and took a big swing of beer.

I raised my eyebrows and and waited... but there was no punchline.  "You're kidding, right?'


"You were one semester away from graduating with an engineering degree from a prestigious UC school... and you just quit?  Are you freakin' kidding me?'

"I was making really good money - like, really good-- much better than I ever would have as an engineer.  It didn't make sense to continue."

"But you were one semester away, Bean.  Just one semester." I stared at him, unreasonably irritated by the foolhardiness of his decision.

He gave a rueful shrug.  "It was really good money."  He opened his mouth to change the subject, but I wasn't about to let the matter drop.

There was a reason I was single, despite working in a crowded, busy sportsbar.

"You're an idiot.  Seriously.  If you don't go back and finish that semester and get your degree, you're an absolute idiot."  I set my drink down and stared at him hard.

His eyes met mine, and he held my stare for a long moment. 

"Maybe I will, Becky.  Maybe I will." 


Today was The Bean's last final.

When he went back to finish his degree, one thing led to another, and he made the decision to start over from scratch and "do it right", to use his words.

I may, or may not, have called him an idiot again.  I plead the fifth.

Two weeks into his first semester we found out I was pregnant with the DragonMonkey.

It's been a little over four and a half years since then.

He completed the whole thing in four and a half years, from start to finish, despite working around 50 hours a week, moving several times, and having two kids.  In fact, for the last two years, he's been working two jobs.  For a brief period there he was actually working three.

He is graduating with a 3.9, with only three B's on his entire transcript.

He's graduating the top of his class in the accounting department.  A really nice accounting firm in Portland has already snatched him up, and as you all know, in less than two weeks we'll be living there.

Bean, I'd like to propose a toast.

Here's to the hard work, and the sleepless nights.  Here's to the lonely weekends, and the staying up late, studying ridiculously boring subjects.  Here's to waking up at three so you can have everything ready for work and still show up on time to your 5 am math class.

Here's to $300 tax books that the bookstore won't buy back because there's a "new edition."

Here's to skipping new movies, and vacations, and even our honeymoon so we didn't have to pull out a bigger loan.

Here's to horselessness.

Here's to you getting up on the morning after we got married, kissing me on the cheek while I nestled deeper in the hotel sheets, and still making it to your Saturday class.

Here's to not punching your fellow students when they complained to the teacher about juggling their school workload with their part-time, minimum wage job.

Here's to all of our sacrifices.

Here's to us.

I'm proud of you, baby.

Now... let's go have a little fun.

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Blogger Veronica Foale said...


Congratulations Bean, it might be a little weird, but this corner of the Internet is terribly proud of you.

Now let Becky buy a horse please. We need her to have one.

May 18, 2012 at 11:27 PM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

Congrats to Bean and to Becky for surviving it all!! (and may Becky finally have her horse as her reward for NOT COMPLAINING TOO MUCH ABOUT IT!!!)

May 19, 2012 at 4:31 AM  
Blogger mugwump said...

Congratulations Bean.

May 19, 2012 at 5:24 AM  
Blogger AareneX said...

I'm pretty sure that university grads are given a choice of a diploma or a horse. No? Have they changed that?

May 19, 2012 at 8:33 AM  
Blogger Laura Crum said...

Congratulations and good wishes to you and your family for a smooth and happy transition to Oregon. And I hope a horse is in your immediate future!

May 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Justaplainsam said...

Congrats to Bean!! And to you for being there for him. Hope you have a save trip 'North' :)

May 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM  
OpenID oregonsunshine said...

Congrats! Enjoy Portland. It's going to be a wonderfully weird adjustment.

Oh, and Becky? Don't forget to go see Muse for me at least once.

May 19, 2012 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger redhorse said...

Congratulations to both of you!

May 19, 2012 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Snipe said...

What a trip it's been for you guys. My hat's off to the Bean for persevering through the slog that is school and doing so brilliantly in the process. He has my utmost respect for that. Also, congrats to you both for your commitment and teamwork. Since you're now able to purchase a house in a beautiful area, it sounds like your sacrifices are paying off. I'm happy for you.

May 19, 2012 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger Bif said...

You're a good man, Bean.

Congratulations on your graduation!

May 20, 2012 at 8:39 AM  
Blogger Misternizz said...

Did you at one point have a blog called "the glum becky blog?" Just wondering. This looks very familiar...

May 20, 2012 at 2:32 PM  
Blogger LazyShamrock said...

Congratulations, Bean!

I graduated from that other CSU (as in Colorado State) last weekend. Please stay healthy so you don't need crutches during your graduation ceremony like I did. I salute you as a fellow parent and breadwinner.

Go Class of '12!

May 21, 2012 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Morgan said...

You are both an inspiration to me and the hubby! Hubby is back in school right now (working Mon-Fri, in class Fri night-Sunday) and more than once I have told DH that we can do this bc "Becky and the Bean do it and they have two kids. All we have are pets!". LMAO.

Congrats Bean (and Becky, for surviving without killing anyone!).

May 22, 2012 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Half Dozen Farm said...

Congrats Bean! Becky's toast brought a little tear to my eye.

May 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM  
Blogger Half Dozen Farm said...

Congrats Bean! Becky's toast brought a little tear to my eye.

May 23, 2012 at 3:38 PM  

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