The Shredi Master

My Photo
Location: Iowa, Afghanistan

See my website...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Proposal series

Finally done. people just wouldn't stop harassing me. It was crazy; all the threats..... Well, it's done. Be sure to scroll down and read from Chapter one. It's kind of anti-climactic if you start from the last chapter.

The propsal: Chapter V

Are you ready for the exciting conclusion of this tale? I have as many chapters as there are Rocky movies, so I can stop after this.

I'll admit that I was pretty nervous Friday night the 9th. I certianly didn't sleep well. I don't know if it was nerves as much as it was excitement. All that planning was about to come into play. And it would go very well, or not so great. I knew either way that Ang would be exstatic and that getting engaged is the only part that mattered. The rest was all just bonus stuff. But I also knew that this would only happen once. I may have more money later in life or more connections or whatever, but now was the only chance I had to make this one day super memorable. And so I really wanted all the bonus stuff to go perfectly.

I got up early and had to do a lot of plowing to get out of the driveway, feed the fire and all that stuff. I then went to my parents house to get the ring (which was in secure lockdown). After that I had to run down to Love and Lace and pick up a new vest for the tuxedo that I had picked up the day before. Denise and Rhonda were great help and they made sure the new vest was there and waiting. [As a sidenote, I went in to rent the tux I wanted and my story was that I had a party to go to. But I didn't want anyone to say anything to Ang in passing. So, there I am checking out andRhonda says "Is this for a party?" and Denise says "or a proposal?" - or something like that. I hate lying. I feel bad about it no matter what. So I had to fill them in and swear them to secrecy. They did a great job.] So, now I have to run to work and get the camera and my itinerary (with phone numbers) and then head over to Hy-Vee to get a dozen roses. My dad and I discussed how to keep the roses alive the night before, and I told the Hy-Vee guy what the plan was. He told me to go buy my cooler first and come back and we'd work on the arrangement. So, I went and bought a large cooler (for insulation). He wrapped the roses in paper and I was off.

I made the point of trying to downplay the whole day. I thought Ang would start to doubt herself by the end of the day after nothing had happened. (Mean I know, but I really wanted to suprise her!) So, I showed up late and told her I had to run to work first. I showed up in jeans and a crappy band t-shirt. (Not my band - we have sweet shirts). Off we went - into the crappy weather. I don't know what I was smoking when I thought we'd be able to take a carriage ride and stay outside on that hill. I obviously wasn't thinking of 10 degree weather.

We got to Galena and it was so beautiful. The snow was gently falling and there was an amazing layer of white over everything. We drove around to six different bed and breakfasts and looked at the great old houses. That took right up until 4pm. At the last house, the lady asked if we were staying here for dinner. I said yes and she asked if we had reservations. I said No. She said "On a Saturday night? I hope you can get in." When we left Ang asked if we should get a reservation. I nonchilantly said "No. We've been here before and we've never had any porblems getting in. I think she's over-reacting."

We then walked around and lookeded at Galena's poor attenpt at living windows. The obviously haven't been to Waverly. There wasn;t even a cool Christian Rock band in any of the windows! Most either had nothing, or someones pet, or some guy in drag. No, I am not kidding. Well, it was still snowing and it was really cold! We stopped in at a coffee shop that we'd been in and killed some time. Ang went to the bathroom and hen she came out I told her I had called and made a reservation for 8 at Vinnies. Then we shopped and shopped and eneded up stopping at another coffee house. I actually wanted to go in for warmth more than anything else; even thought Ang will tell you I was just killing time. So, we talked and Ang got a bit quiet and I knew she was coming to grips wit the fact that I wasn't go to propose afterall. Yeah! I am so mean.

We then went to Vinnies and they reserved the special table in the room I wanted just like I had planned. It's called the dungeon because the room is small and is walled in on three sides. You have to go down some stairs to get there. It is such a great room. Anyway, we got one of the two tables (the other was empty) and we ordered away. I thought it'd look bad if I put my coat on to go to the bathroom, so I told Ang I was cold and kept it on. After we ordered, I told her I had to go to the bathroom and clean out my teeth (root canal a couple days earlier). So I left...

This is where I get to tell you about how God was with me that night. We rarely can get a spot on main street Galena. It is just packed and the spots on the main drag are highly coveted. After our home tours earlier in the day, we drove down to main street and I was going to park up the hill behind the restaurant. We got right to the restaurant and a truck pulled out of the very first spot right in front of it. There is no more perfect spot than that one. Some may call that coincidence. I call it God being with me every step of the way.

So, I ran out to my car and grabbed my duffel bag, the roses and vase, and the tux. I literally ran into the restaurant's bathroom and got to work. What work, you ask? The work required to have a vase of roses, duffel bag, and other crap in a single toilet stall and change into a very complex outfit. If I hadn't closed the toilet lid, I'm sure my foot would have been in there. Now the adrenaline starts to flow like a river. I hurry up and get ready and put all my crappy clothes in the bag. All presentable, I head back for the table, roses in one hand, ring box in the other. With each passing step my heart starts to beat faster and faster. Coming down the stairs and getting down on a knee seems so surreal now. Ang's hands were to her mouth the second she saw me turn the corner and she started crying almost immidiately. I managed to stammer out "Angela Thompson, would you be my wife... and marry me?" Between sobs, she said yes. That was quite a feeling. I sat down and watched her struggle to open the box as the couple at the table near us clapped and gushed. Ang couldnt; get the box open, so I opened it and gave her the fabrige egg that the ring came in and opened it for her. She put the ring on and try to regain her composure. She couldnt; eat a bit. I was starving as my nerves started to relax and the stress started to melt away and I ate a bit of our now cold meal. Angela will tell you that I was gone frever. In truth, I can't say howlong it was. it seemed like mere minutes to me.

After we paid an employee came up and siad that our driver was ready. I had just finished tellign Ang about the plans for the day and how I had to cancel the carriage bit. So, she wondered... We walked outside and I can vividly remember turing the corner and looking down the stairs to the amazing limo and driver waiting in the snow. It was great. We got in and I had told the driver ahead of time that we wanted to drive around and check out the Christmas lights. So, we talked and he'd drive up to different houses and stop briefly. It was an amazing limo and the driver was great. Overall a very unforgettable time and I will always cherish the look on Angela's face at the moment I showed up. All that planning and the night went so perfect.

The drive home was great as well. Ang called her family and my family, and my sister and im and Sharon etc etc. So, I got to hear the story of the night many times. I enjoyed listening to it every time. Sunday was great as well as Ang was super duper excited to show everyone her ring and shout our engagement fro the rooftops.

And that's the end. it was a lot of reading I know; hopefully it was entertaining. I'm sure Ang can tell you about something I got wrong :) Pictures of the night and the ring are HERE.

The Proposal: Chapter IV

I ended up talking to Angela's sister Beth on the phone about some Chistmas stuff. I wanted to knwo when she was going to be there (at Angela's folks' house in Des Moines). Just in passing, I mentioned this to Ang and I could see the wheels turn. The new plan was to make her think I was going to propose at Chirstmas.

In the meantime, I was researching what was going on in Galena that day and starting to put togtehr an itinerary. There were Bed and Breakfast mansion tours in the early afternoon and Living Windows in the evening. I had picked up a brochure on the carriage company that operates out of downtown. Over the next few days I would call and make reservations for the special room at Vinnie Vanucchi's and call the carriage company to set up the ride.

The original night was planned like this:
-Pick up Angela and drive to Galena - be there by 1:00
-Go around and see all of the Bed + breakfasts and explore until 4:00
-Do some shopping and enjoy the Christmas windows until 7:00
-We'd go eat at Vanicchi's
-Half way through dinner, a violinist would show up and play for us
-When we left, the horse and carriage would pick us up and take us up to the hill where we first watched the fireworks.
-We could sit there on a blanket and I'd propose, while the violinist played
-Then we'd have another 30 minutes of carriage ride to enjoy

That sounded excellent. Then December came. I talked to the carriage company weekly and becasue of the weather I had to do the carriage ride before dinner. They couldn't make it up the hill, so we'd get dropped off and picked up at the stairs that go up to the top. And December kept getting worse. The carriage company told me that they had cancelled their last two weekends worth of rides and that they'd most likely cancel the 10th. I couldnt; get ahold of any local musicians to fill my violinist spot either, so that was falling apart. Time for a new plan. And waht, you ask, was the new plan? Well, I'll tell you. The new plan was exactly what happened, so I'll just tell it as it happened on the 10th. In the next chapter....

The Proposal: Chapter III

My goal with these chapters is to create more chapters than there are Rocky movies. I have a ways to go...

Every year I go to Promise Keepers. And without fail, every year God has moved mountains in my life right after the trip. Sometimes it is very hard to discern what God is trying to tell you about your life and what his will is for it. Other times you get to inderstand things so clearly that you'd swear God was standing beside you and whispering in your ear.

This last year was no exception. I always get many things from a PK conference, but this year most of my thoughts came back to Angela and the fact that I knew that it was God's will that she was in my life. And I kept coming back to the fact that it was more important to make her my wife that to accomplish anything else in life...

Back to the story.
We had looked a few times at rings occationally. Following Pastor Jim's love for Sam's Club, we stopped and looked at their offereings and I picked up a few catalogs and information on diamonds in general. At that time I knew noting about diamonds or jewelery in general. I'd try to ask Ang waht she liked for size and style and cut and she was, obviously, more than happy to tell me just what she liked. Natalie was also a great help nd offered to help me get a ring if I needed it.
I read up on clarity and cut and how diamonds are graded and what makes them attain "fire" and "brialliance." I also started to look for the perfect ring for Ang. Well, being addicted to online shopping (go free market capitalism!) , I found a great store in New York with the perfect ring. I knew it was right. I sent Ang pictures of three or four different ones to get her reactions, but I already knew which one I was getting. To sum this portion of the tale up a bit, I got the ring and had it for a LONG time. I tried to keep it a secret, although I did have to share with my parents, the band, and Natlaie and Bill. It was too amazing not to show anyone. But after the initial showing... it went into hiding.
I'm sure Ang knew which one I was getting. She probably wasn't 100% sure, but like I said, she is brilliant. In fact, maybe a month before the proposal Bill and Natalie told me Ang was way too smug about knowing all the details of the engagement. Bill suggested that I move the date and try to throw her off. I seriously thought about it. But I knew that she would be disappointed if that day came and nothing happened. And I didn;t want to disappoint. So anyway, I fugured that she knew that date - December 10th. She knew it was in Galena. She thought she knew about the ring. I started to get a bit paranoid. HOW could she know all of these things!? I figured that she could guess about the date and location, but the ring? Dang computers. It was entirely possible for her, if she looked on the right places, to find out that I had bought a ring - and she could even see which one. That was disappointing to me. Was she like a kid shaking the Christmas presents; snooping around trying to find out every last detail? I should move the date and show her.
But alas, you already know I kept the date and the place. You already know why I wanted Galena. It is special for us both, so I figured I'd hjave to come up with something else to throw her off track. But what?

The Proposal: Chapter II

Okay, I'm going to go off on a tangeant here. Why? Becasue it's MY blog and I can do what I want. Anyway, I ran across my little "diary" entry from our first trip to Galena. So I thought I'd include it here. Mainly to embarass Angela :) Actually it shows how things really happened since my memory only works 72% of the time and my "Chapter I" post was off in a few places.

"Great start to a great day. I showed up with a single rose, which went over very nicely. I can tell Angela is a big flower fan. We did the drive up under gray skies and occasional rain, which let up by Wisconsin. The house was an interesting tour. Angela went a bit faster toward the end, but it could have been that her stomach was bothering her. After we left we had to stop and grab some meds and then head for Galena. She slept and was better by the time we reached Galena. We did some walking and looked into stores. She can walk anything, I however, was being overcome by the humidity. We finally ended up at a place called Venucchi’s and split a nice Chicken Parmagiano. It was nice and about right with the split. After much conversation, we went back out and dallied around, stopping in a Christmas store. She loves the zebra stuff and most music related stuff. There was a brown grand piano ornament that caught her eye. She also loves the silver music notes.

We continued to walk and browse and ended up arm in arm – her move not mine – very clever. Eventually we staked out a spot high atop the hill, by the old high school upon which to see the fireworks. It was a great spot. There were peripheral fireworks all night leading up to the real ones at 10, which were spectacular. I did manage to put an arm around her and she didn’t punch me – so I guess that’s a good sign. It was a long ride back and we listened to her stuff again, mostly Phantom and then some jazz/rat pack stuff. At least she’s good to talk to! We made it back at about 1 or so and I gave her some cheese and the night ended with a hug. It went very well I suppose. I need to get her a new rose to replace the dead one. "

The Proposal. Chapter I

I guess I should start at the beginning….

A long time ago, there was this guy. And there was this girl. He proposed to her.

Ha! That would dive women crazy! You females are so detail oriented. Well, I am going to do this in parts. So start with Chapter 1 and read onward. I'll try and make something up about aliens if it gets too boring.

Anyway, I suppose it’s a completely different tale from my side. I’ve always known Angela is brilliant, and I knew that she was on to my proposal plans. However, Ang is sentimental and she definitely wanted to get a ring sooner rather than later. Knowing these things, I thought Galena would be the perfect place and this would be the perfect time of year. I figured she might guess at the location and the time, but that’s life.

Angela and I had been hanging out for a while and walking etc. when I asked her if she wanted to go to the House on the Rock in Wisconsin with me. We went up on July 4 and I had a great time. Ang was okay at first, but wasn’t feeling well toward the end of the tour. (Too much gold I think). Anyway, we headed out and she slept as I found a short cut South to Galena. We figured it’d be a really neat place to watch fireworks that night. Galena is an amazing place and, along with having great architecture and a rich history, it is extremely picturesque. We walked all over town and found some really neat little places off the beaten path. As has been the case ever since, we ate dinner at a great little Italian restaurant called Vinnie Vanucchi’s. Later that night we meandered up to the old High School building which sits atop the side of a hill, overlooking the town and the levee and river beyond. It was a great time and the fireworks were amazing. I was, however, not distracted by the fireworks as I was in deep thought about whether I should put my arm around my still plutonic friend. Anyway, I guess my heart won out and I made my move. Very slowly… After everything was done we left and Angela put her arm in mine as we descended the hill. And that is why I had to propose in Galena.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Your un-PC funny for the day

Check out this little parody on airport security here. Funny funny stuff.