February 6, 2012

10th Anniversary of Me NOT Asking My Wife to Marry Me

10 Years ago this morning I did NOT ask my wife to marry me.

She said yes anyway.

A year before I attempted a last-ditch effort to ask her out.  Because of this we "celebrate" February 6th as a personal holiday instead of the more popular February 14th.  Eight days from now I'll tell you the story of that last-ditch effort.  This is about the results of that effort, so you already know there is a happy ending.

Carolyn and I worked at different Fred Meyer stores and we'd moved in together at this point.  Originally she moved in with me at my old apartment in order to save up some money to move into a new place of her own but we both liked the arrangement.  I knew I wanted to get married and I didn't want to continue living in my small two bedroom apartment, so I bought a house in January of 2002.

We had already taken the trip back to Iowa so she could meet my family.  I had already asked her father for permission to marry his only daughter.  That was "fun".  He told me that my future In-Laws thought I was going to ask Carolyn to marry me at Christmas.  Sorry, but I'm not that guy.  You know that guy, he's the type who will skimp out on a Christmas present by giving an engagement ring instead.  I have a Brother-In-Law who did the Christmas engagement, but I cut him some slack because I know exactly why he did it: He knew he'd have to ask in front of the extended family to put pressure on my sister to say yes.

OK, got the house.....check.....family introductions......check.  The ring.....check.  My mother gave me a particularly nice diamond ring to use as an engagement ring.  Evidently she had given my brother most of her jewelry, save just a couple pieces, to chose a stone for his wife.  My brother kept it all and had the most ugly and gaudy engagement ring made up.  The thing had something like eight stones of all sorts of colors.  It was red, blue, white, and yellow.  My mom was torqued and ended up giving me her nicest diamond ring for Carolyn.  I took it to Fred Meyer Jewelers and had them make a new white gold setting and a matching wedding band.  The manager also threw in an appraisal for insurance.  They did me a professional courtesy and only charged me their cost.

As a quick aside, Fred Meyer Jewelers is really worth checking out.  It's the third largest jeweler in the country and just because they have locations in all the Fred Meyer stores, it doesn't make them a cheap jewelry counter.  I've been treated well by them over the years and I cannot recommend anyone else above them.

Obviously Carolyn and I had talked about getting married before the morning of February 6th, 2002. She had made it extremely clear that any sort of public proposal was going to answered an emphatic "NO!"  Now I hadn't planned on an big proposal gesture in front of a crowd of people, but I wasn't opposed to doing it in a public place, like the airplane on the way home from Iowa like I originally thought.  My problem was that I had everything I needed, but I was a bit stumped for a way to do it.

Inspiration hit me while I was setting up the seasonal Valentine's Day section at the store.  Necco Wafers, the guys who put out the Sweethearts candies, introduced a new Sweetheart that year that simply said, "Marry Me".  I figured that I could do the exact opposite of a public proposal and not even be there for the asking.  I bought a bunch of two pound bags of Sweethearts and sorted through them for just the "Marry Me" candies.  A two pound bag produced six candies on average.  The breakroom at work got a lot of free candy that week.  Once I got enough candies I stayed late at work (off the clock) and shellacked the hell out of the candies.  They went in the bottom of a flower vase along with clear glass stones and eleven* long stemmed roses.  I also purchased eleven* heart-shaped helium balloons.

Driving home with the balloons was a challenge.  They were metallic balloons and they shrunk quite a bit in the cold air.  As soon as I got in the house they started "pinking" as they expanded back to their original shape.  I put everything into the bathroom and tried to go to sleep.  My idea was that Carolyn would notice the balloons and flowers when she got up before I did to get ready for work.  When she finally got her contacts in she would be able to clearly see the balloons and flowers, but she would also notice the little colored hearts in the bottom of the vase.  Upon closer inspection she would notice that all of them read "Marry Me" and then she'd give me her answer.

Of course I didn't really get any quality sleep that night so my recollection is a bit groggy, but I remember her practically jumping on me and saying "yes".

....and that is how I did NOT ask my wife to marry me ten years ago.

*The number eleven is significant and will be explained on February 14th.

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