Heather Nicole

(No longer Froneberger)


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Map of the places I've been in Utah Map of the places I've been (not in Utah) Map of the places I've fished in Utah

How we met

During the summer of 2005 I spent a lot of time on the river in a pair of waders with a fly rod in my hand (partly because I got so hooked on fly fishing that year and partly because I was sick of dealing with the opposite sex, I had a rough ending to a relationship in May of 2005). I spent so much time on the river, in fact, that sometimes I would forget that it was important for me to also spend time with people and not just with fish.

In the middle of June a friend, Cassi Berhold, came to me with an offer to go on a camping trip with 9 other people to Jackson Hole Wyoming the first weekend in July. I thought about it and decided that maybe it was time I tried to re-insert myself into society and so I accepted her invitation. She was excited and started to ramble off facts, and ideas and random thoughts in a way only Cassi is able, until I stopped her and asked her about the other people planning on attending the trip. She explained that there would be 4 other guys there and 5 girls and so being single I of course asked if I would be “interested” in any of the girls. She said that they were all cute and then specifically stated that two of them have boyfriends and that I was not allowed, by any means, to cause problems or flirt with or interfere with those two. Having never met either of the two girls I agreed.

The time for the trip came quickly and about a week before we were to leave Cassi had a meeting where everyone was to get together to discuss the specifics of who would bring what and where to meet and who would drive and all that. That was the first time that Heather and I officially met. No, there wasn’t a love at first sight musical butterfly moment right then and there; it was more like, “hey, what’s up” and that was it. I was/am pretty guarded when meeting new people so I didn’t say much and from what I remember she was busy socializing with everyone. But that was it, we wouldn’t see each other again until I drove up to our campground in the Teton National Park on July 1st.

Our trip lasted 3 days. The highlight of that time was the rafting trip we took down the Snake River. Heather and I still never talked much, partly because I was still a little uncomfortable not knowing anyone else and partly because Cassi told me to leave her alone. But we had fun as a group. We hiked to Hidden Falls, fished on Jackson Lake and for some random reason played a bunch of games of pretzel. At night we’d all gather around the campfire and just talk and tell stories. One time we were all talking about things we’d like to do someday and I chimed in that I had always wanted to go to an Atlanta Braves baseball game but never could find anyone to go with me. To my surprise Heather spoke up and told me about how fun they were and how she had been to a few with her dad and how she’d go with me to a game if I couldn’t find anyone else as long as I’d let her visit her family in North Carolina while we were out there. I’m pretty sure she said it just to say it but I suddenly found a glimmer of hope that I would actually get to go to a Braves game. I didn’t bring it up again during our trip but I was certain that I would bring it up once we got back to Salt Lake.

So that’s how we met, a mutual friend planned a camping trip, we were introduced and talked just for a couple brief moments, but from that I found a possible travel buddy that I was excited to push into heading to Atlanta. At this point it had nothing to do with interest in one another, in my head she was taken and I was not to mess with that, my interest was going to a Braves game.

Getting to Know You

We got back to Salt Lake from our trip to Jackson on the 5th of July and it just so happened that since the 4th fell on a Sunday the city/state had decided to hold fireworks display on Monday. So our little camping party decided that we would go home and shower and rest a bit and then meet back up and head to Sugar House Park together to watch the fireworks. Most of the night was rather normal, we all talked about the trip and what we liked and didn’t like, it was a good time. As the firework show started we all laid back on the side of a hill to watch and being the clumsy guy I am I stretched my arms out hoping someone might want a pillow (now lets not debate the size of the pillow, my arms aren’t much more than skin and bones but I’ve later come to find that Heather actually uses the flattest pillow on planet earth, it’s not much more than a bed sheet folded in half). Oddly enough my lame attempt at being debonair succeeded and I had one girl on the right side and to my surprise, Heather on my left side.

That whole night threw me for a bit of a loop, I was confused because I was told to absolutely leave this girl alone and yet there she was cuddled up next to me watching fireworks. I didn’t really know what to make of this, but as time went on this little group of friends gathered together every now and again to go bowling or watch a movie or to play games, I had a bit more time to figure out what to make of this Heather girl.

During this whole time of testosterone induced stupor my more conniving and selfish side, which is pretty well separated from my boyish stuporism, decided to push Heather into agreeing to take a trip to Atlanta. I really wanted to see a Braves game so when I’d see her I’d start quoting ticket prices to fly to Atlanta and weekends that I could go and things like that. Finally I think she started to realize that I was serious about the trip and oddly enough she was okay with moving forward. When she gave me a solid “yes, I’m in for sure” I was stoked and yet a bit dumbfounded. Here I am some dude she’s hung out with three or four times and she’s totally fine spending two or three days with me, it blew me away just a bit, but that was fine with me because I was going to see the Braves.

Well, now that our trip was for real I had all the excuses I’d ever need to spend time with her. She’d come over and look online with me for ticket prices, we’d discuss other things we wanted to do while in Atlanta, we would try to find the cheapest way to get to North Carolina so she could see her family (that was the only stipulation for her to agree on the trip) and things of that nature. Of course all these important trip details would really only take 30-45 minutes to figure out and then since we were already together we might as well go and do something, whether that was meet up with the group to go bowling or watch a movie at her house together it didn’t really matter because we just really starting to enjoy each others company.

Now you got to understand here, she was still in a relationship at this time so she would come over under the farce that she just wanted to plan out the trip so she’d feel okay with everything but what a load of bull that was. Yet here’s where an interesting plot twist developed. Her longtime boyfriend from NC had planned a trip to Utah to spend a week with her and they had plans to go to Zions National Park and see some sites and things like that. I suppose I had to be okay with it because she was still hooked up with this guy so I made out like it wasn’t a big deal to me at all yet inside I was dying. Had everything that happened over the last couple weeks really just been us planning a trip together or did she have feelings for me? At this point, I really had no idea. So in he came and off they went and to my surprise and satisfaction the day she went to pick him up she asked me, “if I know I’m going to end things with him, should I fake like I’m having a good time this week or should I tell him right when he gets here?”. Kind of tough choice but she decided to spend time with him and not bring anything up. So even though I knew they were off together having a great time, her heart wasn’t in it and that meant I had a shot!

The First Date

After about a week of anxiety, the visitor finally flew home and I was left to sort out whether Heather’s feelings had changed after being with this guy or if she still planned on moving on. She didn’t give to many hints for a while, in fact I started to worry a bit that maybe I had just been a fad that had gone out of style. It had been over a week and from everything that I knew she was still with this guy. What happened to the “I plan on ending things with him” vibe that she had given off? I didn’t really know what to do, so I just tried to play it off like we were just going to Atlanta as friends and that was it, I even started convincing myself that when we went back to North Carolina she would call up this guy and the three of us would hang out or something…..but at least I would get to go see the Braves.

Our plans were virtually complete about a week before we left. We bought our baseball tickets on line and we planned to hit up Six Flags while in Atlanta. We had our car rental all lined up and our schedule all mapped out. Everything was good to go, or at least I was good to go. Heather on the other hand a few more details to take care of, turns out she had a very important phone call to make two days before we left and it just so happened that after that very important phone call she was no longer involved in a relationship with said boy from back home. Within seconds of hearing that news my trip jumped from a 6 on the excitement scale to about an 11.

On August 11th we boarded our flight headed to Atlanta and settled in preparing for the couple hours of travel that lay ahead. Heather had worked all night and had planned on sleeping the entire way to Atlanta so I decided to watch a movie (Madagascar). Turns out she might not have been as tired as she let on because she watched the whole thing from the comfy confines of my shoulder, and well if you’ve ever comfortably confined yourself to a shoulder you know it’s not at all cozy unless the arm that’s connected to that shoulder is angled slightly away from the body that houses the shoulder so of course I put my hand on her knee, but only for the sake of her own comfort; what chivalrous gentleman wouldn’t?

We arrived in Atlanta and after a trek nearly as long as those of our religious heritage we finally picked up our luggage and headed off in our rental car (Heather was certain that the baggage claim wasn’t too far from our gate so we didn’t need to use the train, a mistake I’ll never make again). That night we watched the Braves play the Giants from the second row in centerfield. It was a very enjoyable evening; I had my first real BBQ, I learned why it’s called HotLanta, and I had my first experience with southern conversation the word ‘baby’. After the game we journeyed back to our hotel and went to sleep, me on the hide-a-bed with a bar in my back and Heather on the comfortable California king size ‘perfect to sleep on I’d give my right leg to own’ bed.

The next day we headed for Six Flags. Initially we both were concerned that our stomachs might have outgrown amusement parks but a dozen or so rides later we felt pretty good as we headed out of the park on our way to our second Braves game. That night they played the Diamondbacks and we enjoyed the game from the second row along the third baseline. It was a perfect day, all I could think about was how exactly right everything was. I just went to an amusement park where I had an wonderful time with an amazingly attractive and fun girl and now there I was on the second row enjoying an event I had dreamed about for years. Does it get any better…….I submit that it cannot! (all you Regan goonies should get a laugh out of that one).

The game ended around 10:30 or 11:00 and the plan was to drive to Gastonia that night which would put us getting into her parents house around 3:00am. But I wasn’t ready to leave Atlanta behind, at least not yet. As we approached our car, after losing a couple bums trying to finagle money from us, I thought there is only one thing that could make the night any better. So as I went over to unlock her door I paused, she looked up and that was that. The following 4 hour car ride flew by, at least for me. I think Heather spent most of it trying to figure out what had just happened and what she was going to do about it. I’m not sure she was convinced that I was ‘all that and a bag of chips’ yet, I think in her eyes I was more like ‘some of something and a few potatoes’. But as the time passed on the highway and we conversed and laughed while the proverbial sparks flew I think I was gradually finely sliced and deep fried and my little ‘some of something and a few potatoes’ turned into ‘quite a bit of that and a bag of chips’.

After we arrived at her folks place, around 3:30am, though exhausted I wondered how she was going to treat me with her family around. It’s one thing to kiss a guy in Atlanta where you know no one and where you’re far from any worries or concerns but now that we were in Gastonia, well I’d be able to gage her interest for certain. And as those Southern Baptist might so eloquently put it, ‘Praise the Lord’, before she went to bed she came down to say goodnight and make sure I was comfortable but before she left, over she came and just like that I wasn’t worried any longer.

The rest of the trip was great. I met her family and we all went to the mountains on Saturday for a picnic. The scenery was beautiful and the company superb. Sunday her extended family came over for some birthday party for her dad and we all had an enjoyable time. Monday morning we headed back to Atlanta to catch out flight. During those four hours of drive time we talked about how surprising our trip had been. We laughed about how our first date actually lasted 4 full days and we both mentioned how surprising it was to feel so comfortable with someone so fast. After all my worries and concerns I finally felt comfortable with her feelings for me and I couldn't have been more excited.

Our Courtship

The next couple months just kind of flew by. Heather and I did anything and everything we could together and to be completely honest, that was quite a bit of doing. From September through December we; went fishing multiple times, hiked up to some mountain lakes, went to a Death Cab for Cutie concert, went to multiple BYU football games, went camping, went four wheeling a couple of times, saw a bunch of movies, went to Jazz games, went to BYU basketball games, spent a weekend with my family in our condo, had picnics, went snowboarding, went to work parties and Christmas parties and anything else you can think of. For the first two months after we got back from Atlanta I’m not sure there was a single night that we spent together where we didn’t “do” something. It was quite enjoyable to say the least.

Other than “doing” things as much as possible we followed al l the conventional dating rules. We never really talked about “us” or how we felt or where we thought we were going. I think part of that was because we weren’t really sure what the answer was but also because we were just really enjoying our time together so why risk the chance of screwing that all up (you see in the dating world you go out and have fun together but once you actually “talk” about your feelings and how you see yourselves as a couple the relationship either takes off or it gets cancer and starts to die and we weren’t ready to take the chance of having it die so we just didn’t talk about our feelings).

Because we never spoke about all that relationship stuff there was a weird kind of tension that started to build up around November. By then we were a full fledged couple who spent all their time with one another and everyone knew it. I wanted to talk to Heather about the feelings I had for her but from past experiences it seemed like me opening my mouth to talk about things always seemed to infect my relationships with a terminal cancer and so a big part of me wanted to wait as long as I could.

Let me throw in a side note right here, at this point you’re going to think why in the world is he telling me this but as you read on you’ll begin to understand. Heather was growing frustrated with her living conditions, her apartment was only one bedroom, the kitchen wasn’t much more than a hallway and hordes of boxelder bugs decided to take up residence in the dining and living rooms. She voiced her frustrations to some of her coworkers and it just so happened that a woman she worked with was building a new home and was looking for someone to rent her old home. Heather jumped on the idea and it was looking like she would be able to move out of her complex by the middle of December. So with that explanation, lets move on to the next part of our story.

The First 'I love you'

On December 17, 2005 I realized I couldn’t wait any longer to tell her how I felt about her. That afternoon my company had a Christmas party at the Grande America Hotel. It was a formal/semi-formal event and so we decided to get all shwanked out, so Heather bought a new dress and got her hair all done up and I actually donned a suit (the first time in a long time). We spent the evening conversing with some friends from work and enjoying one another’s company.

We decided since Heather was leaving to head back to North Carolina the next week we would exchange Christmas gifts that evening. So after the party was over we headed back to her place and pulled out our gifts to exchange. It was fun to see her light up with each present, I’m pretty sure her excitement and enthusiasm for the gifts I got her was enough to make my whole night. But after she we opened all the presents we sat on her couch and had one of those moments, you know the kind that if you watch it, it either melts you heart or makes you sick because it’s so cheesy. Anyway, I told her I had one more gift and she gave me a confused look, and then I told her that I loved her.

I think we spent the next half hour or so soaking up that moment. Looking back on it now that ‘I love you’ felt so much more significant than just confirming our affection for one another. I’m not sure how much more significant, but enough so that it put the wheels in motion for much bigger and much more momentous things to come.

Getting Serious

Right before Heather left for North Carolina she found out that her friend from work wanted to back out of their little housing agreement. She said that her husband was coming home and he wanted to stay in the old house and rent out the new one (or something to that extent) so now Heather found herself in a predicament. She had already contacted her apartment complex to tell them that December would be their last month so the big question was should they rush to find a new place and stick with moving out by the end of December or should they see if they could stay in the apartment they currently were occupying? It was a tough decision which was amplified by the fact she was in North Carolina and unable to shop around for a new place in Utah. Not quite the type of present she was real excited to receive during ‘the season of giving’.

Our Christmas that year was spent apart, and that probably is a big reason why the Christmas of 2005 won’t top my list of most enjoyable Christmas’s ever. We talked everyday on the phone but unfortunately I’m probably a more skilled grape peeler than I am a phone talker so our conversations never really lasted more than 15 minutes or so. Every time we talked it seemed like she was having a great time with her family which made me jealous as all get out because I wanted her to be having a good time with me but a few thousand miles called me up and said that wasn’t going to happen.

Our week apart gave me a lot of time to really try and get a handle on what was happening between us. Our first ‘I love yous’ had just been exchanged and it was exciting and invigorating but now that she wasn’t there I was left to slide down off the top of the mountain of love and figure out where to go from there. I wasn’t sure because even though we shared our feelings for one another before she left; we still really never mentioned how we felt about our relationship. That was okay though because as she sat in North Carolina and I in Utah I reflected on that amazing night and how I felt and I realized that for some reason that first ‘I love you’ answered not only the question of how we felt for each other, but it silently whispered that this love was deeper and stronger than any words or feelings or emotions or ideas and it would be this love that would carry us through our lives together from now and through eternity.

Now realizing something like that is like having 2 tons of moose tracks ice cream dropped on top of you; at first you’re scared to death and you don’t have a clue what to do but when you finally realize what just happened you consider yourself the luckiest person in the world. So as the week went on I started feeling more and more comfortable with the idea and with the feelings I was having and I started to think, how in the world am I going to talk about this with Heather? We hadn’t even talked about our relationship yet and here I am wanting to tell her that I love her in a way I’ve never loved before. That’s when I started getting a bit nervous and that’s what consumed all of my thoughts for the whole next week.

She came back to Utah a couple of days after Christmas and I was both thrilled and worried at the same time. I think I decided that I wasn’t in any big rush to tell her that I really felt like she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t want to push anything too fast and scare her by bringing up something as big as that, I mean our first ‘I love you’ was only a little over a week ago and I felt if I went much further than that I might mess something up. This whole ‘I think you’re the one for me’ was a topic that I felt needed to be approached delicately.

The Big Talk

Since Heather had gotten back to Utah she had started searching for a new apartment. She and her roommate decided that even though they wouldn’t be able to move into Heather’s friend’s place, they still wanted to get out of the apartment they were in right then. They spent a couple days searching, trying to find a good place with a flexible contract and that is when my decision to delicately approach ‘the subject’ was thrown out the window.

On December 29th I called Heather to say ‘hi’ while she was at work. As we were talking she told me that she and Ashlee had found a couple of places that looked decent but required you to sign a 6 month contract. I was a bit concerned about that and so I asked Heather if she was sure she wanted to be locked into a place for 6 months. She didn’t seem too uncomfortable with the idea and so she said ‘no’ and the conversation moved on. A few minutes later the 6 month contract came up again and again I asked ‘Heather are you sure you’re okay with signing a 6 month contract’? This time she seemed a little puzzled why I’d ask that again and so she responded, ‘ya, I’m fine with that’ and then she said ‘I don’t know about Mark (Ashlee’s boyfriend at the time) and Ashlee, but I’m not worried about anything happening between us in 6 months.’ With that statement not only was the wind knocked out of my sails but I’m pretty sure someone decided to come on board and completely remove my sails altogether.

Our conversation must have ended moments after that statement because I don’t remember saying anything else other than a few yes’s and no’s and maybe a grunt here and there. I was in a state of shock, how could I feel like our relationship was reaching new heights while she saw us as a couple that was merely dating? I didn’t know what to do. I was supposed to meet her at her apartment that night to watch a movie or something but I was so dejected that I didn’t want to go over there at all. How was I supposed to act now? Was I supposed to try and hold back my feelings and act like I saw her as a girlfriend and nothing more? I couldn’t do that, and so I had to tell her how I felt and how I had been absolutely destroyed by her comments earlier that day.

When I got to her house that night she could tell something was wrong, but since I’m so good at talking about my feelings and thoughts it took me a bit before I brought up the phone call from earlier in the day. After just a little bit of discussion about the topics of that conversation I told her that I was really hurt that she didn’t see us as anything more than boyfriend/girlfriend. I told her that I really saw our relationship differently and I told her that within 6 months I was expecting us to be much more than just a dating couple. She listened excitedly and when I was done talking she blissfully told me that she only said those things because she didn’t know how I felt about our relationship and didn’t want to scare me by the way she was feeling. So just like that, two weeks after ‘I love you’, we finally talked about our relationship and with that talk it appeared we would have quite a future together.

FYI Heather and Ashlee contacted their complex and decided to stay there by signing a month to month contract.

New Years Eve

Two days later was New Years Eve and we decided that we wanted to spend it just with the two of us, at least the actual New Year. During the evening some friends came over to Heather’s to play games and hang out but about an hour before the book was closed on 2005 we found ourselves alone. We started talking about the highlights of 2005, our personal accomplishments and such and then Heather asked me if I had any goals for 2006. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and even though we had just had our big talk I was a little nervous vocalizing the answer. I paused to gather any composure and poise I could find and then out it came, I told her that my biggest goal for 2006 was to marry her. The next 40 minutes were spent talking about marriage; where we wanted to get married, when, what types of ring she wanted and things like that. As midnight approached we turned on the TV to watch the ball drop and when the clock struck twelve and a new year began we kissed and with that kiss our old lives faded away and we entered into the beginnings of our new life together.

Ring Shopping

Now that we were unofficially engaged, finding a ring became the absolute number one priority and after just one day of shopping I realized I was in a bit of trouble. I guess I always had it my head that when I proposed it would happen one of two ways; 1) I would either completely surprise the girl, have a ring bought and everything and ask her to marry me without having actually talked about it together or 2) after talking about it with her she would tell me almost the exact style of ring she wanted, I would head out and buy it without her help and propose without her knowing I had bought the ring thus making the proposal a surprise. But that’s not even close to how it happened.

Heather and I visited various jewelers all over the valley looking for a style that she liked but honestly it seemed like every time we went out she was in love with a completely different style of ring (okay, she actually only liked 2 styles but they were COMPLETELY different). So Heather decided she needed to recruit her sister to spend a day with her looking and trying to decide on something, anything, but not much came of that either. After a week of looking we really hadn’t made any headway and she was starting to get anxious to get a ring on her finger i.e. ‘Josh lets get the ball rolling here NOW’.

FUNNY SIDE NOTE: the very first time Heather and I went to a jeweler’s to ring shop her sister called. Heather was with a salesman trying on a ring and so I answered. Amy wanted to talk to Heather but I had to tell her she was busy which caused Amy to ask ‘doing what’ to which I responded ‘being busy’ which made her frustrated and therefore ended our conversation. No one knew we had talked about marriage and I wasn’t anxious for it to get out until she had a ring on her finger. Ya know, that side story just doesn’t seem as funny when I type it out like this, sorry.

One day while we were out we came across a ring that I liked and that she liked. It was simple and yet elegant and it just so happened that the jeweler had an oval diamond that looked magnificent with the ring. Up to this point I hadn’t been completely amazed by any of the rings Heather had chosen but I really fell in love with this one. We sat there and looked at for a while and finally decided that it was ‘the one’. I was excited but a little deflated because I felt like I was incapable of choosing a ring for Heather on my own but seeing the smile on her face quickly got me past my disappointment.

HOPEFULLY FUNNIER SIDE NOTE: After Heather and I agreed on the ring, I sat there for a minute unsure of what to do and finally I just decided to ask her, “Do you want me to take you home so you’re not here when I buy this”. She was a little unsure of what to do herself being torn by the tradition of having the groom buy the ring alone on one side and the practicality of us being able to take care of it right then and there on the other side. When the salesperson recognized the dilemma she chimed in that Heather could sit in a waiting room while I sorted through the details and purchased the ring. Sounded like a decent idea and so that’s how it happened.

The Proposal