As I mentioned last week, I’m engaged.  After seven years hemming, hawing, steeling, preparing, fleeing, crying, choking, suffocating, sleeping, and sometimes farting, I came to grips with the fact I wasn’t going anywhere, and there was only one girl for me.  Since we announced our proposal to distant friends and family there’s been an outcry for “the story.”  Post-engagement the holidays kicked off and we just got lost in being present and being engaged, so we’ve been putting the whole thing off, but we just can’t any longer.  It’s a little off-topic for Mystery House Comments, but it’s nice to have one place to direct everyone who’s curious.

 I asked Nikki to write it from her perspective, and I’d chime in with brown font when needed.  My original draft had her in pink and me in brown (our wedding colors).  It was the cutest.  However, I can't crack the code for colored font on the blog, so you'll have to settle for her in bold.  There hasn't been a lot of bold so far.  Let's see if we can share the spotlight for once.

YOU GUYS!!!  IT WAS PERFECT!  Maybe not your version of perfect, but it was perfect for US!  Let me begin by pointing out that Nikki doesn’t double space between sentences which is a huge pet peeve of mine.  I’m going to have to spend an entire draft of this blog just adding an extra space between each sentence.  Grrr.  So to start from the beginning... I went to Washington DC on a business trip and was gone for 7 full days.  In the month and a half prior to her trip I had leaned heavily on Shanae Lavelle (my artist and business partner) and a therapist I hired just to help me work through my issues to a point I was ready.  When it felt right, Annie Berglund (a coworker who kept me sane while we ran Red Feather together/work wife) and I drove all over town looking at rings (a story that could fill its own blog).  It was supposed to be a two day process: one to get an idea of what I liked and was looking for, and another to pick and purchase.  At our last stop of the night, Morgan Jewelers, I fell in love with one ring.  I kept telling Annie that I was worried about the diamond catching on something and popping off.  She kept insisting that wasn’t realistic.  The lady at Morgan said, “Oh, you like those claws, huh?  It’s to keep the diamond from catching something and popping off.”  I, of course, gloated.  It was the shape I was looking for and it had a cool design built into the structure of the ring.  A few years before this I’d gone there with Nikki’s mom to pick out a necklace for her, to tell her it would happen someday, but to have patience.  When the Morgan salesman heard this she looked up the purchase.  The diamond I had just picked out for Nikki was the same cut as that necklace, just larger.  Fortuitous since my original intention was to turn that necklace INTO the engagement ring.  Then I turned to Nikki’s best friend, Rachelle, to carry me the last stretch.  She was to help me plan and execute the big surprise.  When Nikki shut the door to leave for that week, I pulled a giant lever and our world went into five alarm engagement mode.  I called or visited our immediate friends and family one at a time to let them each know what I was up to, and to ask them to set aside a certain night for a surprise engagement party.  I was absolutely exhausted and ready to come home to my boyfriend, my puppy and my home.  I even turned down an $800 flight voucher in Denver so I could make it home that night instead of the following morning.  A voucher we very much could have used following the proposal (grumble grumble).  I got home at 11:00 PM on Sunday night and Jon insisted on picking me up, although I was perfectly happy taking an Uber.  It was the first snow of the season in Boise and it had just begun to snow as I landed.  Jon and Rose Tyler (our 9 pound Chihuahua-terrier) were waiting for me at the curb.  I came home to a clean house and no dishes in the sink!  Jon surprised me by having my diamond necklace fixed and ready to put on my neck.  My thinking was that a) she was expecting that necklace to be repurposed into her engagement ring, so if she didn’t know where it was, she’d always be wondering about it and b) once she got one big gift, particularly jewelry, she wouldn’t be expecting another.  That night, he cuddled me and I cuddled Rose Tyler and it was possibly the most restful sleep I have ever had.

The rest of the week was busy as weeks usually are in our household.  I had clients come to town and Jon had a coaster party at Red Feather (a comic book thing...).  I don't think she means to sound that dismissive ;)  A few of our close friends told me that he had really missed me while I was in DC which I thought was sweet.  All I’m gonna say is that this moment is the closest we came to figuring out what was going on, and there was a lot more drama behind the scenes that's been hashed and rehashed.  Jon and I have gone years on opposite schedules and been perfectly fine.  We are very independent people but we have grown to like each other’s company quite a bit.  (At least I think so.)  So when Jon told me that he wanted to go out to a nice dinner on Friday night because he missed me and wanted to go out on a real date, I didn’t think anything of it.

It’s Friday night.  I am PMSing so badly that I have a mini-meltdown.  You know the one.  “What do you mean “NICE DINNER?!?”  I don’t have any “NICE” clothes!!  All of my clothes are either for the summer or they have holes in them!  Either way, it’s 30 freaking degrees outside and I don’t have anything NICE!!”  Jon so sweetly tells me to forget the “Nice” part of the date night and to focus on the “date night” part.  He even offers to change into jeans so I can wear a sweatshirt if I want to. 

I finally settle on something and we call an Uber (Uber: “Making dreams come true since 2015”) to come and pick us up.  Jon suggested that we go to Spacebar before dinner, one of our favorite bars in town.  It is where we hold all of the comic book release parties and where we go to play old ‘80s arcade games.  I told Jon that I wanted to go to another bar because Spacebar only serves beer and wine and I clearly needed something stronger.  Jon went with the flow and agreed.  (Knowing what I know now... KUDOS to Jon! I was ruining the plan, but he readjusted... nice!)  The cab driver ran into some traffic due to construction, so I said, “No worries, let’s just go to Spacebar.  I can just drink A LOT of wine!”  (Destiny stepped in!)  I promised myself (and Annie) that although I had a very well thought-out plan, I would be willing to take whatever curve-balls I was thrown, in favor of keeping the secret and making a memory. 

We get to Spacebar and plan to play a few games of Magic the Gathering, have a few drinks and head to dinner at Red Feather.  (Red Feather is the restaurant where Jon has worked for 5+ years and is a very popular cocktail lounge.  Magic the Gathering is a nerdy card game where goblins attack wizards and all of that jazz.)  Fair descriptions, both.  Jon was excited because he bought us new decks of cards to play with and he even put colored protective sleeves on them.  His were cute yoshi (you know, the little green dinosaur) sleeves and mine were a hideous orange.  I immediately complained and asked to switch.  (I’m a spoiled brat.)  Jon protested and said that he specifically picked that deck for me to play with, so I conceded. I couldn’t be flexible on this one.  I had a secret deck in my pocket slid into a set of sleeves identical to the color she was playing, so she wouldn’t notice when I swapped them.

We are on our third hand of cards and I have had 2 glasses of wine.  I do my turn and excuse myself to go to the ladies room.  When I come back, I am told that it is my turn.  I draw a card from the top of the hideous orange deck and instead of it being a picture of a dragon slaying village people or something else fantastical, it is a picture of Jon and I and the “name” of the creature was “Power Couple.”  It’s powers were that “Power Couple is Indestructible” and it told me to draw the remaining cards in the deck, one at a time and lay them out in front of me.  In quotes on the bottom, it read, “I love you.” 

I’m already a bit teary eyed!  In my mind, I imagine there are 5-6 of these cards that he had specially made and he did it because he really missed me while I was in DC.  I flip another card and it is a picture of our group of friends.  I flip another and it is a picture of our first apartment.  Then a picture of me and our nephew on the day he was born, a picture of Marie Callender’s (where we met), a picture of my mom moving to Boise, a picture of my dad and a sweet note about him passing away, a picture of us at San Diego Comic Con, a picture of my college roommate and I, and so many more!  I had tears rolling down my cheeks and Jon kept asking if I needed a tissue. I told him I would be fine and I kept flipping.  There were well over 40 cards!  The second to the last one was another picture of us and the instructions told me to “Take a second before drawing the next card.  Look at all of the cards laid out.  Take in all of the experiences, loved ones, and locations that have made us who we are.  Draw a card.”  I know, RIGHT?!?!?!  I have FINALLY figured out what was happening!

 

He tells me to take a picture of the cards I had laid out and I comply.  I get a bit impatient though and grabb for the final card.  Sure enough, it’s a picture of a Morgan Jeweler's box and the title of the card is, “Will you Marry Me?”  I cry a bit harder and look at him as he grabs the box out of his jacket pocket and opens it.  I grab the ring, SHOVE it on my ring finger and tell him to go and get me some damn tissues!!  When he gets back, I said, “You have to ask me!” at which time he said, “Oh!  Will you marry me?”  Tears.  So many tears.  (Remember the PMS?)  He then pulls out a pack of cigarettes (we don’t smoke but we used to socially, back in the day) (SHE used to smoke socially.  I smoked at least a pack a day for around ten years.) and says, “I bet you want one of these!”  This man has thought of EVERYTHING! 

We go outside in the freezing cold and smoke a cigarette.  I am still in shock.  He then tells me that we are headed to Portland the following morning and we can fly or drive.  He has already picked the hotel and has packed his bags.  Boy, we sure could use an $800 flight voucher right about now!  What?!?!?!  I’m going out of town tomorrow??  Is there anything this man hasn’t thought of??  Oh crap!  My mom!  I need to call my mom!  I say this last part out loud and Jon tells me not  to worry about it yet and to just take in the moment.  I ask Jon if there is a cellar full of people waiting for me at Red Feather and he brushes it off.  (Something is going on here...There is no way Jon didn’t involve our friends and family...)  Jon heads back inside and I call my boss to tell her that I am taking Monday off because Jon PROPOSED!! 

I meet Jon back inside and the bartenders bought us a round of champagne.  Their champagne is served in a pink can with a straw.  I love that place!  I try to salvage any makeup I have left and we head to Red Feather.  It is Friday night, so the place is visibly busy.  We walk in the front door and sure enough, the manager (a good friend) says, “Hi Nikki! Unfortunately we are all booked up and the only room we have is in the cellar....”  “GOD DAMNIT!”  I say as I shove my coat and my purse in Jon’s hands.  I push past the manager and head for the cellar where I can tell there are people sitting and standing.  I open the door and shout, “I’M HERE!!!” like the brat that I am.  I used to manage Red Feather, so she already knows that trick.  I then proceed to walk down the winding staircase where I see 30+ of my family and closest friends.  I cover my face with my hands and just sob!  Everyone starts applauding and hollering.  I continue down the stairs where my mom is waiting and I give her a huge hug.  She is crying too, of course.  I am then handed a glass of champagne (NOT in a can) and I start to realize just how many people are actually there!  My sister, brother-in-law, niece and teenage nephew!  My soon to be mother-in-law who lives in Oregon made the trip!  My best friends and soon to be in-laws are all there to wish us well at my SURPRISE engagement party!!  Once I stop crying, I bounce around and show everyone the Magic cards Jon used to propose and thank them for coming.  Still.... in shock.  My best friend even made a banner!  It felt so official, so I convinced myself that I wasn’t dreaming.  As you can imagine, Jon and I forgot to eat and kept drinking the champagne. 

After a few hours we poured ourselves into a cab with a pizza we ordered to-go from Red Feather.  We ate said pizza in bed, took some tylenol and went to sleep.  I woke up 6 hours later, painted my nails because I neglected my manicure (every girl’s FREAKING NIGHTMARE), and perked some coffee.  Jon was right behind me and we decided to pack up and head out for the drive to Portland. 

On the way to Portland Jon and I called our family and friends to tell them that we were engaged.  We called as many people as we could because we didn’t want them finding out on social media.  We checked into a wonderful hotel and they upgraded us FOR FREE because we told them he proposed the night before and we were on a “mini-moon.”  The weekend was wonderful and perfect.  We drank champagne his boss had gifted us in our HUGE suite.  Understatement.  It was a brand new, very modern hotel, with a smart HD TV, floor-to-ceiling windows covering two walls, a living room with another smart HD TV, a walk-in shower with 3 shower heads, a heated bathroom mirror, a fur blanket, and a kitchen!  We ate and drank at amazing restaurants and bars.  We spent the weekend being in love and excited about the future.  We were finally able to talk about the wedding without worrying about pressure or hurt feelings because it was ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!! 

So that’s the story.  Just writing about it makes me appreciate it all over again.  Jon did such a wonderful job planning and organizing it.  He will tell you his side, (I don’t think she realized I was going to be interjecting) but I have to say that my FAVORITE part is that he asked my nephews’ permission to marry me since my father had passed away.  To clarify, not permission in the sense that a woman is property to passed from man to man.  More like, “I’m not leaving this house until I’ve convinced you this is the right thing.”  He literally thought of everything.  The ring is perfect.  The proposal was perfect.  The man is perfect.  Jon bows.  Thank you to all who made this event so wonderful.  I love you all deeply.  Thank you to everyone who built me into a strong enough man to even ask, to the friends and family who helped me keep the secret, and everyone who’s been part of our story so far!

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