Hey there again. I was initially going to edit this into the last post, but Shannon has already buried that under all sorts of different exuberances. So here's the breakdown of how I landed this pretty little lady as my very own.
For those of you not familiar with our history, here's some fast facts. If you know us, skip this paragraph and the next one. Shannon and I met as college freshmen. She was attending UNL, but one of my new UNO Theatre friends was one of Shannon's old high school friends. I was dating someone else at the time, but that soon fell to the side. Go figure. The first words Shannon ever heard me say were these: "Boy, humping ass all day sure makes a guy thirsty." Obviously, these were words to birth a legendary love story.
We officially started dating just under a year later when Shannon transferred to UNO for school, after a supposedly open but actually closed long distance period. I asked her out with a toothbrush. We moved in together just under a year after that into a terrible house. After three months passed we moved to a nice apartment and bought a Tivo. Another year and we moved into a not as nice apartment and adopted a dog. And then we moved into a house. And we live in a house with our best friends and our little dog.
So that's us the four years of us in a couple hundred words. Now to the good stuff.
To set the scene, Shannon is in Matt and Ben at the Omaha Community Playhouse. This is a two-woman show, and a very big deal for her. She's worked her little ass off to prepare for this role and it really shows. If you haven't seen it, do it.
But this year, her play coincided with a yearly tradition: The Pape Family Halloween Party. I got it in my head to propose at this party and to make her opening weekend just that much better. So I bought a diamond and ordered a ring in September, setting October 20th as the ideal deadline. And that was the day. On October 20th, we'd turn the corner.
Preparations included the following:
- Making Shannon believe that I was constructing a salty fisherman costume to compliment her mermaid costume.
- Actually arranging a different costume, that of the Burger King.
- Ordering a ring and purchasing a back-up if the real ring couldn't make the deadline.
- Ordering a custom-engraved iPod nano as Shannon's "raffle" prize.
- Commissioning a custom-carved pumpkin reading "Will you marry me?"
- Arranging for all involved players to be at the party and paid for at the appropriate time.
- Rigging the iPod nano raffle drawing with the Pape family so that Shannon's number would be called "at random."
- Doing all of this in utmost secrecy.
- Supporting Shannon through her tech week and opening weekend.
So yeah, a tall order. Unfortunately, due to the stress of everything else I may have dropped the ball on the last item, but the lady says I did okay. And everything else went perfectly.
Shannon had her play on the 20th. And her parents were in town to see it. This almost derailed things, as her mom wanted to take her out for drinks afterwards. I made a surreptitious phone call and arranged for her mom instead to come to the party and witness the engagement. I'd already asked for her dad's blessing, so that was lined up and we'd be having brunch with them in the morning.
I didn't sleep much the night of the 18th or at all on the 19th. I kicked myself for falling into the standard trap of being nervous about this, having even the tiniest second thought. I felt like I was living a cliche and that pissed me off. But I still completed all my tasks aside from the sleeping one. That, however, is nothing new to me. And at least my mp3s are now obsessively organized!
On the 20th I swung into action, preparing all of the last minute things. The most hectic was making Shannon think that I was putting together a fisherman costume while running around all day to finish assembling the Burger King one. The ring wasn't done on the 20th, so the stand-in was prepared in a proper box. Directions and schedules were distributed to all involved parties, from the Papes to Shannon's mom to Ben, my point man for getting Shannon to the party after her show. I left the house at 7:00 to get to the party.
The rest of the Burger King costume was ready for me at the Papes'. It is at this point that I should extend the deepest gratitude to Paul Pape and his family for their role in this, particularly his mom, Gidget. She carved a beautiful pumpkin for me that had an unassuming smiling face on one side and a proposal on the back. It's plastic, too, so we can keep it around forever. I owe her such a giant favor for that. Paul also arranged for the raffle with his dad and brother, and his dad bought additional raffle items to give away to make the plan even more secretive and. Paul's younger brother loaned me the Burger King costume elements which he had worn last year. And even Paul's aunt got Shannon and the her mom in the door at the right time (and with the right raffle number) which was the crux of the plan. I owe them everything, they rule.
I spent the two hours before Shannon's arrival in a sort of quietly vibrating anticipation. I tried to chat with other friends at the party, but the only thing in my mind was making sure everything was executed flawlessly. It was all timing, really. I had to know when Shannon was leaving our house to anticipate her arrival. I had to offset this arrival with her mother's entrance so that Julie wouldn't be in the barn until the raffle was being announced. And I had to be moving through the crowd at the right time so that I'd be silently arriving on one knee, pumpkin and ring in hand.
And timing was my friend that night. It all worked perfectly.
Here I am as I'm turning the propumpkin around. Shannon's just won the iPod she wants, so she's already happy enough. Paul and his brother are in back, Paul diligently filming the whole thing. Video will be coming later.
And here we are after she's said yes. Well actually, "FUCK YES!"
You know, I always hoped I'd propose within a foot's distance of an old pirate.
And of course, the kiss. We don't kiss in public very much, but I think it was warranted. Move along now, nothing to see here.
So now we're engaged. It doesn't feel very different, it's just that there's a new stress hanging over our heads. But the nice thing is that it's a very fun and exciting stress. It's kind of like MegaChristmas or something. Still a year away, but on our minds every day of the week. It's really important to us to have a very awesome wedding, but the real treat is the countless years after that. We'll have a fun party and all that, but then I get to be married to this gifted, beautiful, smart, hilarious, simply marvelous person. For forever. And that's about as rad as it gets.
Anyhow, I probably won't be posting here as much as Shannon, but I will make my presence known. Each of us has a big project to do in each of the upcoming months, so I'll keep you posted on what I'm working on and how it's coming. And it should be known that I'm not going to be a slouch of a groom. I'm hitting lots of websites and learning all sorts of things, but I'm obviously still new at this. If you read my posts and think I'm doing something completely wrong, let me know. November's project is determining the venues for the ceremony, reception, and rehearsal dinner, as well as the guest list for these events. We'll be asking all of our respective people to be in the wedding party, to be the one to marry us, sing, play music, etc. We'll be tackling that project together to set the foundation for all of the other ones. My December project is the Save-the-Date, which I hear can legitimately be called STDs. HA! But honestly, I can't wait to knock those out. They're going to be epic.