Okay, so the story you’ve all been waiting for…
(Have you, really? Man. May I suggest a hobby?)
Okay. The premise of this story is that Charlie and I had been planning on getting engaged at the Feast in Colorado. We’d been planning on it for…well, a long time now. I was okay with getting engaged earlier, but he said he wanted to do it there, so that’s what we were going to do.
So we flew up to Kingston for the weekend. Well, we flew up to Syracuse, stopping in Detroit along the way (for our annual Detroit airport fix, including psycadelic tunnel, minus camp – sigh), got picked up by Jeff and Arleen, then drove up to Kingston from there. Our whole family hadn’t been together since last August in New York, and Charlie hadn’t met Jeff and Arleen plus kids yet, so we were looking forward to it.
We got in late Thursday night to Brian and Jenn’s (sidenote – Charlie quote of the moment: “Ooh, that coffee’s got my heart racing like a lab rat!”). Friday morning we headed off to Gananoque (Ga-na-nok-way) to jump on the cruise boat to Boldt Castle for the day. Once there, Mom was herding us all into the ticket booth to buy tickets and yelling, “Everyone get out your passports and driver’s licenses!” I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I kept walking. “Get out your passport!”
What? What passport? “You didn’t bring your ID?” “Why would I need to bring my ID?” “Because we’re crossing into the U.S.!” Oh. Crap. So basically, I didn’t realize that we were crossing the border on the boat and that I’d need ID, and didn’t bring anything with me. Except chapstick, at least I had chapstick.
Family crisis. Huddle outside the ticket booth. Now what? We’re all here, we’re all ready to go, Annette doesn’t have her ID. We can’t go. Yes, you can go. Go. Charlie and I will stay here. Crisis. CRISIS! Eventually I convinced them that they should just go and leave Charlie and me behind, and we would entertain ourselves in Kingston for the day. They begrudgingly left, leaving Charlie and me to pimp Jeff and Arleen’s red Chrysler minivan (including two carseats) that afternoon. Initially I was pretty upset, having to be separated from my family after just being reunited, but eventually I got over it and decided to make the most of our time.
We drove downtown and had lunch on the patio of a great little gourmet pizza place, then walked around and I got to show Charlie all the cool little downtown sites. I showed Charlie my old apartment, then gave him the campus tour. Unfortunately campus was all torn up because they’re building a multi-million dollar student center, but it was fun to show him where I spent 4 years of my life.
Saturday we had church in Kingston, so it was fun to see all the old Kingston folks again. Unfortunately we didn’t stay long because we headed back to the house to meet up with Jeff and Arleen after their service, so I didn’t really get to talk to anybody.
Later on that night, though, we headed downtown to get ice cream and walk around. It was cool outside, so we all bundled up in pants and jackets. When we left the house, Alison was carrying her backpack with her. She said it was so she could carry her jacket, but I thought it was totally overkill that she was bringing her backpack to carry her jacket. Whatever. I pointed and laughed.
We walked along the lake, saw the downtown sites, and then piled in the cars to head for home. Charlie and I were driving with Alison and David, plus Zachary. Just as we were heading back to Brian and Jenn’s, Alison suggested that we stop off at Fort Henry (which is up on a hill overlooking the city and the lake) so Charlie could see the view. Good idea, I thought, in between serious hiccup spasms. We parked, and headed over to the part of the hill with the best view of the city.
It was right around sunset, city lights shining, water sparkling. Alison dropped her backpack and started chasing Zachary; David followed. It was just me and Charlie. He turned to me, noticed I was cold, and said he’d look in Alison’s backpack to see if she had a jacket. “Well, it doesn’t look like she has a jacket, but oh, look at this! It’s Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass!” He pulls out Jack Sparrow’s compass. What? “See, it points to whatever your heart desires most. … Oh look, it’s pointing back towards the bag!” He goes back to the bag and pulls out a bottle of rum. He takes a swig from the bottle. What are you doing? “Want some?” No, thanks, I’m good. The needle on the compass moves again. “Oh look, now it’s pointing towards you.” He then popped open a secret compartment under the dial and pulled out a small treasure chest. In it was a ring. And he proposed.
Oh yeah, I said yes.
I was completely taken by surprise. I had no idea. Looking back on it, I should have at least considered it, seeing as how I saw an email from my mom in Charlie’s inbox with the subject, “Don’t show Annette.” But the plan of getting engaged at the Feast seemed so firm that I didn’t even consider the possibility. Apparently Alison and my mom convinced Charlie that it would be a better idea to do it in Kingston when we were all together so we could all celebrate.
After sitting on the side of the hill with a sparkling ring on my finger, mouth agape and yelling “WHAT?!” multiple times, we headed back to the house. Once there we found Brian and Jenn’s house strewn with streamers, balloons, the song “Kiss Me” playing, and everyone waiting for our grand entrance. So they’d all been scheming all along. I had no idea. We celebrated with dessert and champagne, took pictures, and told stories (the night before B&J’s wedding, JB?). Good times.
So we’re engaged now. Yay! Charlie had my ring custom made in like…a day here in Columbia. It’s white gold, cathedral trellis band, princess cut solitaire setting. Exactly what I wanted. We actually had an appointment with a jeweller in February when I was here and picked out general styles that I liked, but didn’t order anything. I left that up to him, and he did a fantastic job. He’s brilliant.
We’ve actually been planning the wedding for a few months now. We’re planning on having it at the end of December or beginning of January. Yeah, like two weeks after I graduate. Yeehaw. Mom’s already started making the bridesmaids’ dresses (the simple elegant pattern I posted earlier) and has looked at a few halls. Plans are still very much up in the air right now, with my parents’ families being in NJ, my siblings being scattered towards the east coast, and Charlie’s family out here. We’ve had a lot of different ideas on what to have where, but right now it’s pretty much just a convoluted mess of ideas, expectations and people-pleasing. I’ll keep you in the loop. I don’t have a dress yet, but David’s Bridal has their $99 sale right now (aww yeah!), so I’ll be heading over to check that out.
So, that’s basically the story. It’s taken me about a week to actually come to grips with the whole thing. We’ve been talking about and planning to get married since 3 months after we started dating, but it didn’t seem real when it happened. It’s kind of a big deal, you know.
I hope you’re all doing well. Happy Sabbath. Pictures to be posted shortly.