How We Met: The Angie & Rick Story

How does an outdoorsy New York lumberjack / fisherman without a passport or a Twitter account end up with a nomadic, blogging, tech-addicted, globetrotting publicist?

It’s a love story only God could’ve dreamed up.

Because maps are the best.

2004 — Relocation

I left Florida immediately after college and eventually ended up in New York. Rick left New York after graduation to move to Florida, where he became friends with my brother and his circle. Soon, he was living in one of my parents’ rental properties down the street from their house out in the country. I had no idea he existed of course, because I was in New York City suffering through Match.com and junior investment bankers.

Graduation in 2004

Graduation in 2004

2009 — When Rick Met Angie — Middleburg, Fla. 

My brother gifted my parents with a new concrete walkway for Christmas, so while I was home from New York, he recruited a handful of friends to demolish the old walkway. As I stood on the front porch of my parents’ house, my future husband drove up on a muddy tractor.

I didn’t for one moment think, “Ah, there he is. I’m going to marry that man on the tractor.”

It’s more likely that I stood there in my pajamas with one hand on my hip bossing everyone around. In my mind, my brother’s friends were just a homogenous group of hooligans, and since Rick was too shy to say hi, I have no recollection of this first meeting.

But Rick says he was sold. He had heard tales of Alex’s “hot older sister” from the other boys in the group, and he says he was not disappointed. Glad my jammies made a lasting impression!

If there had only been a sign way back then...

If there had only been a sign way back then…

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This is one time I’m glad my mom is obsessed with taking candid photos, because we have a little reminder of this day.

2012 – When Angie Met Rick – Middleburg, Fla.

I’d just returned to Florida after a couple of months on the road in Hawaii & Morocco. Having traveled for the better part of two years, I was exhausted and very happy to be home for Christmas. I wasn’t sure what my next steps would be, but I was considering trying out non-nomadic living for a while.

Dating was not on my radar.

Little brother & I in the front yard at the Hilltop HouseLittle brother & I in the front yard at the Hilltop House.
25 years later Rick & I smooched for the first time in this same spot.

My brother was living in one of my parents’ rental properties in Jacksonville, the Hilltop House, which also happens to be the first house I ever lived in. It’s the site of most of my early memories, including my Rainbow Brite bedroom and the exact moment I learned to read on the living room floor. It’s also the place where Alex had his little fire accident earlier in the year.

Easter Sunday at the Hilltop House.

Alex, Angie & cousin Daniel on Easter Sunday at the Hilltop House.

Rick with a friend at the Hilltop House.

Rick with a friend at the Hilltop House.

The Orth family left the Hilltop House sometime in the late 80s, and a few decades later, future fiancé moved in.

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A few days before Christmas 2012, my brother’s band played a special hometown show in Middleburg, so all his friends and roommates came out to support.

“Hey, RaeRae,” I yelled over the music. “Who’s that guy?” 

“That’s Rick.” 

“Rick? Hodgie’s roommate? Has he always been super hot?”

“I dunno – but he totally is.”

Mom joins in. “Are you guys talking about Rick? Yeah, he is hot.”

Consensus. Hmmm, that was unusual.

I’d just found out Rick was from New York, so I marched over and started chatting him up and asking a million questions. I probably scared him to death.

He said he wasn’t going home for the holidays… and I couldn’t let this hot hottie spend Christmas all alone, could I? I invited him to spend a few days out at Mom & Dad’s place. I’m so thoughtful like that.

Alex showed up with a handful of friends on Christmas Eve, including Rick. We played Apples to Apples, watched movies, had safe bonfires, baked cookies and introduced our guests to the Orth family tradition of wrapping junk from around the house and gifting it to people on Christmas morning. Rick fit right in with my crazy family, never missing a beat or running for the hills.

Hmmm. Unusual.

Rick enjoying Orth family Christmas traditions

Rick enjoying Orth family Christmas traditions

2013

A few weeks passed by and I kept finding excuses to drive the hour+ from Middleburg to visit the Hilltop House, something I never, ever, ever did before. Every weekend, we’d skateboard late at night, have bonfires out back and sing pop songs in the kitchen with the ragtag group of roommates. Rick was always very reserved though, so I wasn’t sure if the attraction was mutual or if I was just being a stalker.

Eventually, after many conversations, we figured out he liked me and I liked him, right about the time we smooched in my old/his current driveway.

WHOA. 

Bonfire at Hilltop House

Bonfire at Hilltop House

Despite having been single for 100 years when we met, and fully expecting to continue being single for 100 more, we’ve been nearly inseparable since that night.

Marriage was hardly on the table at first. For so many reasons, we just weren’t ready. We knew we wanted to be together, but we fought commitment pretty hard. We had the requisite freak-out breakup about a year in, and it was terrible. Ultimately the separation made it clear that God had a bigger plan to bless us through marriage.

As usual, God’s plans are bigger and better than my own.

2015 — Angie & Rick Get Engaged — Amelia Island, Fla.

It’s funny how much we’ve both changed since we first officially met. As much as we both needed to grow, I’m actually surprised that it only took us two years to get to where we are now.

He popped the question!

He popped the question!

On paper, we’re SO different! I thought I always wanted to end up with the male version of me, I now see how disastrous that would’ve been. Rick is everything I’m not – he’s mellow & relaxed, sweet & soft-hearted, and in no way attached to the Internet, his calendar, passport or social media. We usually look like we’re going to separate events when we meet up – I’m in a dress & heels, he’s in jeans & a T-shirt. He’s such a good balance for the constant whirlwind of spreadsheets and itineraries that is my life. He keeps me grounded.

We are similar in one specific way that I really cherish – we’re the same kind of weird. I finally found someone I can dork out with. Rick never judges me for being a goofball, and I cherish that freedom so much. He makes me laugh ’til I cry and he thinks I’m cute on TV in my fancy red carpet clothes or at home dancing a jig to Britney Spears in my Slytherin pajamas & a wig. Don’t ask!

Angie Orth Rick Normoyle Engagement

The only thing that really ever mattered to me is that we both share the same faith. Looking back, now I see it’s the main reason it never worked out with anyone else. God was writing our story all along. While I was mooning over exotic accents around the world, Rick was back home doing the same thing. All those mistakes & missteps eventually lead us to each other, in my front yard. I think we both know how blessed we are to be together moving forward on the path God has designed just for us.

Now you know how it all went down. In hindsight, it makes so much sense, but it was no easy journey getting to this point. For now, I’m reveling in God’s sovereignty and enjoying our engagement… and the wedding planning process, wooooo-hoooo!

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I love “how we met” stories now. It’s always fun to see how other folks found each other. So tell me, if you’re paired off, how’d you meet your significant other?

COME AWAY WITH ME!
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  • April 02, 2015

    Aw man! So, it’s late on a Thursday night and I just stumbled upon your blog and THEN I READ THIS! And now I’m like obsessed with you and your relationship! I relate SO much – I graduated from UF (though it was just last year, 2014) and live in central FL now…and I feel like I’m going to be single forever! Finding someone who shares my faith is a top priority too. Your story has given me such encouragement that the possibility of love is still out there! 😉

  • April 04, 2015

    Oh I love this story. Like you I was single for 100 years and expected to be for 100 more. I had just spent 3.5 years living and travelling overseas, came home for a wedding, accepted some casual work at my old job on a whim and at the end of the first week I met my partner – who works in my office. I spend all that time seeing the world, come home for five minutes and BAM! Didn’t see that coming. We’re now plotting lots of adventures together.
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  • April 22, 2015
    Jo Ellen Gonzo

    After Lemont died I was lost and struggled to regain some source of normalcy. I still had two children at home ages 16 and 21. I knew that marriage was a good thing and had decided I probably wouldn’t even consider getting married for at least 5 years. But I did find that I needed to date simply to get out of the house. I was looking for someone to be social with, golfing, jazz festivals, biking. I was so afraid of becoming that cat lady they warn you about. I started on Match.com. That was back in 2002 when online dating was in its infancy. I had rules, never give them your last name, where you work, your home phone, meet in a safe public place. Needless to say I became the queen of lunch dates, it was easy to say you just weren’t ready to let them down easy when you knew it wasn’t going to go anywhere. I had just gotten home from family camp Sunday July 21 when Match had found me someone. I read his profile and then sent him mine then waited. We started emailing back and forth After several hours he asked if we could talk. He offered to give me his phone number but instead I gave him my home number. Rule #1 broken. We talked for 2 1/2 hours. Then he told me he wanted to take me to dinner and when was I free. I told him Fri, Saturday and tonight. He asked me to dinner that night and I accepted. He offered to meet me at the restaurant but instead I gave him my home address. Rule #2 Broken. AS I was getting ready my son asked me the name of the man I was going out with. When I told him he said OMG mom the Ouija board said you are going to marry a man with those initials. I laughed and said do you mind if I meet him first before I get engaged. That night was prefect we had dinner, wine, we had so much in common. Neither one of us wanted the night to end. So I went to his house after dinner Rule #3 broken. We stayed up all night and by morning where already talking about things like if you get married what type of a wedding would you want etc. We where inseparable from that date on. We officially waited until Sept 6, 2002 to get engaged as to not freak out the rest of the family. Because the children had lost their father he wanted them to remain in the home they had grown up in. He sold his home and moved in. During that time my oldest who had a history with drugs was having issues, we received concerned calls from friends in Texas and I flew down to assess the situation myself. I knew I had to bring the children home to live with me but would our relationship survive this new test. I called him and asked it I come home with two children will you still be there. It was Valentines weekend 2003 when I brought home the children to find he had painted the room and setup beds complete with two large teddy bears each. The man who never wanted children was now going to be a father. We where married Aug 14, 2014. Giving the children more time to adjust to the changes. We thought we where done but our relationship would be tested one more time. My daughter Shawn was in Prison in Galveston Texas and was going to have a baby. He was now 49 and I asked him if we could take on a newborn. At first he doubted he could do that but when the time came he took off 4 months to be the stay at home dad for his little girl. We have adopted that girl and through her and the other children he has learned the joys of parenting. I often say the reason I found him so quickly was that God knew what was headed my way and he knew I would need a partner. They say when he closes a door he opens a window you just need to be brave enough to go through it. We have now been together 14 years Married 10. The kids keep us active and young.

  • April 28, 2015

    Aww, what a cute love story! Congrats again on your engagement and I can’t wait for the wedding post. Hehe.

  • May 06, 2015

    Awww, I can relate to your story in a lot of ways! Although it’s still early days, I also have the most unexpected new boyfriend: there was this Thai guy working at the residence where I stayed who started going after me and I initially rejected him because I thought, what on earth am I going to talk about with this guy who has nothing in common with me and only speaks basic English? And then…he turned out to surprise me more and more each day. He doesn’t own a passport yet (nor a Facebook account for that matter!) and has never really left Thailand, but he is really keen to give this lifestyle a go and join me on some of my travels. He’ a smartie and he has already come up with a lot of ideas for ways we could fund our joint travels. Trust me, I would never in a million years have seen that coming! 🙂
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  • May 21, 2015
    Candace

    Love!!! I’m sure you know some of our story but me and harold met in high school when one of my friends had a crush on him in and I got them to go out. Eventually they broke up and we started dating a few years later! PS I love the chuncky baby Thomas in the picture with Rick from HS graduation.

  • August 03, 2015

    what a nice love story,,
    Angie I hope for you blessing and happiness for ever.
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  • November 02, 2015
    Francis Kimani

    It just sound like a fair tale. I love the story. I can read it again and again. I wish you a happy marriage life

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