|Danielle Ciavarro , age 26, Design Assistant, Plum Clothing and Chad Ciavarro, age 34, Application Developer, RCMP have known each other since 2005 and met online before it was the norm, although not on a dating site. They proudly boast their stereotypical Italian characteristics. The wine and pasta flowed, and so did the conversation.|
How did you meet?
Danielle: There was a group of bloggers centered on Matt Good. (Danielle still has a blog, check it out at http://www.smellydanielly.com/ !!!)Matt had a list of his favourite bloggers, and that’s where I first saw Chad’s stories. They were hilarious guy stories. We chatted on line and Matt was having a concert in November 2005.
I was walking down Granville Street, and saw him drunkenly stumbling toward the Commodore and I said “Oh my god, it’s Ciavarro” and it was like meeting a celebrity because I’d read his blog and he had this whole persona. I had a boyfriend, he had a girlfriend, and we didn’t really know anything about each other. So then 2006, April, I went to Australia for a month. After that, it was coming up to World Cup, so we talked a lot about Italian Soccer. We planned to see every Italian soccer game on Commercial Drive.
Our first family meeting was Thanksgiving. I’m super awkward sometimes so Chad walks in and I started laughing and didn’t know what to do; so I ran and hid.
Chad: Ran and hid – this is my introduction. There I am in front of fifteen people …
Danielle: Not that many…
Chad: It seemed like 15 people and they just stared….
Danielle: There were six of them. It was an awkward meeting.
(The story is interrupted by Chad pouring us a glass of some home brewed wine.)
Chad: Lots more where this came from – actually 500 Litres of it. (Glasses clink.) Much better. She ran and hid – the pressure was immense. It’s this big master entrance; all eyes on the new guy.
What drew you to him/her when you first met?
Danielle: He was like an asshole. That was his whole thing. He would tell these stories about getting wasted and driving his mom’s baby blue Ford Taurus and destroying it. He was this whole persona, I’m Ciavarro, I get the ladies. I get drunk every day.
Chad: Shenanigans of a mid –twenties male with too much love for alcohol.
Danielle: He was larger than life. And he is larger than life. And he’s not an asshole in real life, so that worked positively.
Chad: I thought she was attractive obviously. But the attraction on the more commitment level sort of just grew. It wasn’t like a smack on the head. If anything I was pushing the relationship away, trying to slow down. I was telling her, go have fun, go travel if you need to, whatever it is, just kept kind of pushing away, but it kept coming back. I had been around the block a couple of times, she was still pretty young, I wanted to make sure she was a hundred percent happy.
Danielle: He came over to my parent’s house to watch a movie. I went to get a snack and pulled out cold cuts and cheese. He said, “This is the coolest thing any girl has ever done. “ I said “I’m not trying to impress you, it’s just this what I eat and this is what I have. So I have some sliced cured meats for you. “
Chad: That was it; she was the one for me. Cold cuts.
What does he/she do that makes you smile?
Chad: We finish each other’s sentences, we know each other so intimately, and it’s having some one who is always there for you. She knows if I need something. If it’s a special dinner, she knows to cook the right potatoes or whatever it is.
Danielle: I found out there’s a word for it. Anthropomorphization. As a kid, I would feel sorry for inanimate objects that seemed unloved. If he makes anything come alive, I just, don’t know what to do with myself.
Chad: That’s the key to her heart.
Danielle: I respect how he takes care of me because I know that I never have to worry about money. He loves to budget, figure out what we’re going to do with our savings. I never have to worry about anything because he’ll always take care of me.
Chad: It’s much the same for me. Danielle takes care of me. If we want to throw a dinner party, it’s all bang bang bang. She puts together our household. She knows how to pick me up. She’s the only person who can get me, no matter what.
What are some special moments or memories that you still talk about?
Chad: We went to Italy with my parents and her parents. We rented a car, drove all over north, south, east, west for a month and ended up north in her family’s neck of the woods.
Danielle: It was mushroom season.
Chad: We had this big thing: steak, mushrooms. We get back to where we’re staying, go to sleep and whatever wakes me up. But I’m frozen. It’s one of those nightmare things where I try to move my arm and I’m paralyzed. I try to scream and I’m paralyzed. And it seemed like three hours, but it was probably more like 15 or 20 seconds. I thought it was the mushrooms.
Danielle: In Italy, they’re scared of cool breezes. It’s the most ridiculous thing, but any change in temperature – that’s why you’re sick. It’s called “un colpo d’aria.” So my aunt’s like no no, it was not the mushrooms. When Chad left the restaurant, he clearly got a gust of air, it upset his stomach, and that made him hallucinate.
Chad: It was my best vacation. It worked somehow; it could have gone off the rails.
Danielle: Every one put what they wanted on the table, we discussed it and went from there.
Chad: Of course, there’s going to be things like: Yes dad, I’ve already heard this story.
Danielle: For Chad and his parent’s it gave them that connection that they didn’t necessarily have before.
Do you still date?
Chad: We spend time at home eating, cooking.
Danielle: That’s a lot of our dates, cooking for each other. We only ever cook Italian food.
What’s the secret of your relationship?
Danielle: We make each other laugh. There was this time in Mexico in the middle of the day, and I flopped on the bed. And Chad flopped on me, flipped to the side, and it was like two kittens, when they’re super tired and one’s on top of the other, and you’re like how are these two doing this? We fell asleep for an hour. We always called it our kitten nap.
Chad: Also, if there’s something going sideways, I’ll let you know.
Danielle: If there’s something wrong, we usually hash it out within the day.
Is love a four-letter word?
Chad: I’m a computing scientist at heart. Unless I’m looking at some weird numbering system, yes.
Danielle: I don’t understand the question.
Chad: It’s the root of all good and evil.
(More wine gets poured.)
I have a time machine – what is the one thing that you would tell yourself about your partner before you met?
Danielle: Dating him was different than dating any one I had before. It was very natural. In relationships past, it was a struggle: do I hold his hand, do I not hold his hand. With Chad, it was I’m going to sit next to you and snuggle up against you and that’s the way it’s going to be.
Maybe I would go back and say, everything is going to be really cool, enjoy every moment because you never know where it’s going to go. I would love to go back to that summer and enjoy one of those dates again, because I look back on them so fondly.
Chad: The question invokes, how would you change it? I wouldn’t. It’s who you are today, and I like where I am today.
Danielle: I think to know every thing’s going to work out in the end. Because a few months after we got married I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Chad: Actually that’s something that I would change: go to the doctor sooner.
Danielle: So our first year of marriage, instead of being this joyous.
Danielle: It was a very serious, depressing time, which is something that it should never be. We obviously got through it and it ended up being ok. So, just to say, enjoy every moment, because sometimes shit happens and its not good but it will all work out in the end. Even with us selling this stupid apartment, it took us six months; it was the most frustrating six months of our entire lives.
Chad: Good call with the cancer, that’s one thing I’d go back and say, go to the doctor. It’s funny because during that whole ordeal, Danielle had to get her neck cut open twice; she had to get, not radiation treatment, but radioactive iodine. She’d be locked away on the twelfth floor of VGH for a couple nights. And I’d always hear your mom saying, how’s Chad doing? He’s such a good guy. Why are you talking about me? I’m doing what I’m supposed to do. This is what I do. This is like breathing. This is inhaling, exhaling; its heart beats. Its not anything – I’m not putting on my work boots and standing beside Danielle.
Danielle: Every one has their love language and it’s the way they show love and it’s the way they like to be shown that they’re loved. And so one of my love languages is physical touch. I like holding hands, I like touching him all the time. During that whole phase, it was very difficult because you’re in a hospital, so yes you’re holding hands but there wasn’t the physical touch that I needed. And I don’t mean on a sexual level at all, but on a companion level. It plays with your head when you’re isolated on the 15 floor of the VGH with no one around you, and you’re stuck with a TV and food with no salt. The worst part was, even when I came home, I couldn’t touch any one because I was still radioactive, and if I touch any one, there goes your sperm and your thyroid. I couldn’t sit next to Chad, couldn’t lie next to him, couldn’t touch him and that was very difficult because that’s all I needed. I just wanted to hold your hand, to feel you next to me.
Danielle: That was very hard. He was very supportive and on our first anniversary he wrote something very nice in my card. And I read it often. “One year is the year of paper, actually it’s been more like the year of love. In tough times either you run away or stay together. Sometimes I don’t know where you end and I begin and I guess you could say that we have chosen togetherness. See there is always a silver lining.” I always read that because I think it’s very true. It had been a very difficult year.
It was very touching. I knew whatever I needed, he was there. He went and got my medication; he came on every appointment. You were just doing what you’re supposed to do and what you wanted to do.
Chad: Absolutely. No doubt it made us stronger. Adversity brings people together. I don’t like to go back and regret stuff because you come out of it, hopefully, usually, in my life anyways, stronger and better. At the same time, we did miss this whole window of time. Because if you look at wedding pictures, you can see the lump, it’s a visible lump.
Danielle: I never noticed it.
What is the one thing he/she does that makes you crazy?
Danielle: I’m a bit of a rage-oholic. So I find that the easiest way for me to express my feelings in a calm manner is to write them out. Because I will express why I feel this way, and I know I might not be right, but it’s just how it is. I hate that you have to leave your English muffin crumbs all over the kitchen, stupid things.
Chad: I just get upset by her overreaction to something I do. She’s a fantastic wife: taking care of me and the house. If I want to go out and have a drink with the boys on a Monday night, not a big deal. I’m not restricted; I’ve got my freedom.
I’m usually pretty good at her requests, if she wants me to take this out, or clean this up.
Danielle: Some of (the raging) stems from me being stressed. If I were to ask him politely, as I should, would you mind doing this, it’s never an issue.
What do you do to cheer him/her up?
Chad: There’s not a lot of sucking up. It is what it is. Let’s pretend we’re kittens again. As soon as the next cutesy moment happens, all is forgiven and forgotten.
Words by Adina Spivak http://twitter.com/adinaspivak Photos by Sam Nosam