Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Anxiously Engaged

Happiness is folding up the armrest of your airplane seat and letting Erin sleep with her head on your chest as you fly over the Snake River Basin.

Erin and I flew home to Oregon last weekend. I was Erin's personal tour guide through Mosier, Hood River and The Dalles. Even though there was some nasty snow, and we never could see the beautiful view of Mt. Hood from my house, Erin said where I live is the kind of place you go see because it's pretty, but no one actually lives there. Yes, the Gorge was gorgeous last weekend, and I'm sure Erin will have pictures up on Facebook in the near future.

More exciting though would have to be what happened right before flying to Oregon. I proposed to Erin! We had been talking and making plans for a while now, and it's finally official. My plan was highly elaborate, romantic and top-secret, which I will describe in the blog post immediately after this one. The plan's execution was virtually perfect (thanks to Erin's friends' contributions). (Erin's version of the story can be found here.)

Erin's ring is perfect. This is the ring I would get her even if I weren't a poor college student and had a million dollars. She loves it.

I called the Houston LDS Temple today and made a reservation for 12:00 noon on August 21, 2009.

I couldn't be happier. Not only am I engaged, but I'm engaged to Erin. She really is the perfect girl for me, of that I have no doubt. If there is a minimum amount of love and happiness that is required before you can expect a guaranteed successful marriage, it was surpassed by Erin and me a long time ago. I have no doubt that we will be happy and successful, forever.

I feel like what Billy Crystal said in When Harry Met Sally:

"When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to Propose to Erin

1) Pray and fast. (January 4)

2) Receive undeniable spiritual revelation. (January 7)

3) Learn about Erin's own undeniable spiritual revelation whilst strolling the Provo Temple grounds. (January 7)

4) Enlist the help of Erin's best friend, Jamie Williams, through top secret emails. Reveal your ideas for a proposal plan that you have had since at least November. Tell Erin nothing. (Continue communicating via top secret emails until the big day.) (January 9)
(Original proposal plan: Along the route of return after a President's Day Weekend trip to Oregon, take the long way from the Salt Lake City airport to Provo via U.S. Highway 189. Arrive at a location where a romantic setting is already in place, thanks to Jamie and other friends. Propose.)

(Deer Creek Reservoir. Stock photo.)

(Romantic setting.)

5) While Erin visits the Banta Family in Layton, go with Jamie to University Mall and visit the jewelry stores. Do some basic research. Tell Erin nothing. (January 9)

6) Go to Sierra West (following advice from Gordon Brennan, among others) with Erin. Coax her into stepping out of the car, assure her that, yes, we really are ring shopping. Attend diamond-buying seminar provided by Bart Wilde. Also, stop by Wilson Diamonds. (January 13)

7) Sometime during January, obtain vital cell phone numbers from Erin's records: her dad's cell phone number, work phone number, and house phone number. (Also, later in January and February, obtain Grandma Ayers' and Brandon Ayers' phone numbers.) Get Erin's dad's information directly from Erin, but obtain Grandma's and Brandon's numbers secretly and tell Erin nothing. (January - February)

8) Over the following three weeks, discuss financial matters pertaining to buying a diamond ring with your financial advisor, Mom. Negotiate business matters with Bart at Sierra West during the next two weeks by telephone. Tell Erin nothing. (January 13 - February 6)

9) On the way to meet with family to ice skate in Kearns, take the scenic route through U.S. Highway 189 and silently seek out possible proposal locations. Tell Erin nothing. (January 17)

10) Visit Erin's grandparents and family for the Monthy Ayers Family Dinner. Learn that the next Monthly Dinner will take place the very night that you are planning to propose. Reconsider plans. Alert Jamie while hiding in Grandma Ayers' laundry room. Tell Erin nothing. (January 19)

(Continue to collaborate with Jamie for the next three weeks on possible alternatives to the original plan. Possible alternatives include changes in location to Ensign Peak or Thanksgiving Point.)
(Thanksgiving Point. Stock photo.)

11) Make two important phone calls: first, to Dad to prepare and pep up for the next phone call; second, call Erin's dad's cell phone. If unavailable, try Erin's dad's home phone. If that is also unavailable, leave a message on his cell phone. Later that night, receive incoming call from the Wake Family telephone. Express appreciation for and describe your relationship with Erin, and ask her dad for permission to marry her. Thank him for his granting permission and take his advice. Tell Erin nothing...until after ordering ice cream at the BYU Creamery on Ninth. Hold her hand as she jumps up and down all the way home. (January 29)

12) Tell Erin that you are at work. Leave with Jamie to Sierra West, armed with notes from your previous meeting with Bart and a checkbook. With Jamie's feminine expertise, choose the perfect ring and perfect diamond. Order the diamond ring and band. Ship the ring to Oregon, therefore avoiding sales tax. Tell Erin nothing. (January 30)

13) While Erin is at work, leave on a long-distance trip to Thanksgiving Point with Jamie, in Erin's car. (Along the way, recruit Jamie to masquerade as yourself in responding to text messages from Erin.) Explore and find a proposal location. Discover the perfect, most beautiful gazebo behind the Thanksgiving Point shopping center. Decide that the proposal will happen at Thanksgiving Point after the February Ayers Family Dinner on February 16. Upon returning to Provo, fill up Erin's gas tank. Tell Erin nothing (other than that you filled the gas tank in her absence). (January 31)

14) Receive a report from Mom that the ring has arrived safe and sound in your Mosier, OR P.O. box. Breathe a sigh of relief. Tell Erin nothing. (February 6)

15) Endure a number of strenuous days wherein you and Erin are, in fact, not engaged, and therefore suffer the consequences. (February 1 - 8)

16) Discuss this endurance with Mom. Take advantage of her brilliance, and alter plans to propose on the way to the airport (February 13) instead of on the way from the airport three days later. Devise a plan to transport the ring from Oregon to Utah. Alert Jamie to the plan. Tell Erin nothing. (February 8)

17) Hold top-secret meeting with Jamie, Ilarene Olaussen, and Aimee Woodward with the latest details of proposal plan. (Have Beth Mathews distract Erin while holding said meeting.) Discuss Ilarene's electronic music resources and capabilities. Become nervous as Aimee asks you what you are actually going to say in your proposal, and realize that you don't know yet. Tell Erin nothing. (February 10)

18) When Erin thinks you are at the temple, drive Erin's car to the rendezvous point at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Orem. (The temple was the original rendezvous point, until an unplanned but very valuable visit to King Henry apartments in search of married housing delayed separation from Erin.) Wait one hour. Receive top-secret suitcase from Dad, containing essential items for a romantic setting at Thanksgiving Point (tablecloth, candles, sparkling cider, etc.), as well as the ring. Admire the ring. Be impressed and amazed. Remain at the rendezvous point until time spent travelling and waiting equals that of an average session at the temple. Return to Erin. Tell Erin nothing. (Feburary 11)

19) Jamie gives you a perfect alibi for stopping at Thanksgiving Point on the way to the airport. (February 12)

20) The big day.

Leave work early. Go to Campus Craft and Floral and buy beautiful bouquet of gerbera daisies. Trek to Smith's to buy a vase, plastic champagne glasses, and a candle (replacing what broke in the top-secret suitcase mid-flight). Pack everything in the top-secret suitcase. Wait until Erin has left the premises and deliver suitcase (including the ring) to Jamie.

Leave class and meet Erin who is awaiting you in her car. Go back to The Colony apartments to pack what you "forgot" (in order to buy more time for Jamie, Ilarene, Aimee and Beth). Receive phone call from Jamie, who left for home in Eagle Mountain, UT and "forgot" her weekend reading homework and would like you and Erin to meet up with her at Thanksgiving Point on your way to the airport. Buy a Diet Coke for Erin at the local Chevron station (in order to buy more time for Jamie, Ilarene, Aimee and Beth). Stay quiet while Erin vents frustration at arriving late to Brandon Ayers' house, who Erin has been led to believe is letting her park her car at his house over the weekend and is then driving us to the airport (even though you secretly called Brandon that morning and told him the real itinerary for the day, and he is no longer expecting you to come at 5:30 pm).

Follow Erin's directions that she receives from Jamie to Thanksgiving Point, acting as though you have never been there before. Pull into the incorrect parking lot. Hike with Erin through the gardens behind the shopping center. Walk to the large gazebo where Jamie and her crew have the romantic setting prepared.

(The gazebo, with Jamie, Ilarene, and Aimee preparing romantic setting.)

Guide Erin in the direction of the gazebo, even though she initially figures that the setting is intended for something else and somebody else. Walk to the table. Take the ring box. Situate Erin so that Jamie can easily videotape the moment.

Say these words:

"You're perfect for me. And I want to try and be perfect for you."


"Erin Leila Wake, will you marry me?"

After she says yes, put the ring on her finger. It fits perfectly.

Invite Jamie, Ilarene, Aimee and Beth to come out from hiding.

Tell Erin everything.

(Beth, Aimee, Erin, Ilarene and Jamie.)

(The ring, right where it belongs.)

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