My wife turns 38 on Saturday.
It's not a milestone birthday, say like 40, 50, etc. But this is a unique milestone for us.
For you see, it was five years ago today when I asked her to marry me.
How we met was easy enough. We both worked at The Ann Arbor News (which sadly is going to fold July 23). Conversation wasn't a problem, since we immediately had something in common. But as we continued talking, we discovered other similarities:
We're both Catholic. Our mothers came from large families. And we both love The White Shadow (that old 70s show about inner-city basketball coach Ken Reeves and his Carver High School team. A show that was light years ahead of its time. Make it must-see TV).
Romance was in the air.
Surprise, or no surprise
My plan to pop the question was to throw her a surprise birthday party, and then seal the deal.
One problem: She told me a few weeks before her birthday that she hates surprise parties.
Damn, I thought. I'm marrying a psychic.
So, trying to think of a place where we could celebrate her birthday and I could pop the question, I suggested we travel to Niagara Falls. The falls has a nice blend of kitsch and romance.
She liked that idea. And so the plan was in place...
Ring a ding ding
I had purchased the engagement ring from Lewis Jewelers in Ann Arbor a month before and had been hiding it in my sock drawer. To get the ring sized, I noticed the fraulein (the German term for a single woman. At this time, she was. Future blog posts will reference her as the frau) was wearing a ring on her left ring finger.
Cleverly, I played with her fingers and managed to slip the ring off her finger and put it on my pinky finger the Wednesday before I purchased the ring. For you see, she has very svelte phlanges. I do not.
It fit perfectly.
The following day, I went to Lewis and made the purchase. A platinum band with two alexandrite stones (her birth stones) with a diamond in the center. It was and still is a beauty.
The fraulein had called me and found out that I was in Ann Arbor. She was working at the News downtown when she called.
"Where are you?" she asked.
"On Stadium Boulevard," I said.
"What are you doing down there?" she asked.
I made up a little lie on the spot to keep what I was doing a surprise. "The post office in Ypsilanti ran out of stamps, so I went to the post office on Stadium to pick up some stamps."
She found this so amusing she told one of the editors about this. When I realized what she did, I called up the editor to explain it was a surprise and I made up a story to keep it a surprise.
Will she or won't she?
We had dropped off Anakin, our trusty labrador retriever, with Tim Martin, a former colleague of ours at the News. Tim, of course, knew of my plans and did a good job of keeping it quiet.
After a fine drive through Ontario up toward the falls (getting lost along the way, thanks to bad directions on my part), we reached our hotel. The pressure to keep the secret was starting to become overwhelming, so I decided to ask when we were settled in our hotel room.
When we got our luggage in the hotel room, I had her turn around. I got down on my knee and asked.
I had to wait for her to overcome her surprise and shock to receive my anticipated answer.
Which, of course, was yes.
So, frau, love of my life, here's to our five years of when you would become my wife.
And here's to your 38th. May it be a special one, indeed.