When You Know

Almost a month ago, I got engaged, and it was a major life decision. And since I feel the need to write about all major life decisions, (and I have nothing else to write about), this will be recap about what happened. This is a long one, so if you stay with it and read the whole thing then…hooray? I don’t know…

Very early into our relationship, the Baker and I had a long conversation about what we wanted and when we wanted those things to happen. I think we were both on the same page as far as moving forward together. A lot of people ask “when did you know that she was the one?” I’m not sure if there was a specific instance that I can pinpoint. It was just consistent happiness. And when something makes you consistently happy, you put a ring on it.

Earlier this year when we first moved in together, a friend semi-jokingly asked me when I was going to get married. We both laughed and I told him maybe later in the year. He told me that he had an aunt out in the jewelry district, and whenever I was ready, I should let him know and he would help me out. Shortly after, the Baker and I had a couple of talks about marriage and taking that next step. There were a couple of things that we wanted to get out of the way (debt, I needed a full time job, etc), but the wheels were definitely in motion at that point.

The next milestone happened thanks to a pushy salesperson. We were actually in a Tiffanys to exchange something, and a saleswoman asked us if we wanted to take a look at rings. (Insert awkward laughter). The Baker laughed and said, “I won’t put him through that.” We both walked out laughing, but later talked about it, and I said I wouldn’t mind looking.

One Friday, we went out for dinner at an outdoor mall and had a couple of drinks. It might have been the 1/2 glass of wine that the Baker had and the beer and 1/2 glass of wine I had to finish that made us do it, but I asked her if she wanted to check out rings. We went into a couple of stores and she started weeding out the ones she didn’t like. There have been times when I have been overwhelmed, and then there was the time I went engagement ring shopping. Not even on the same scale.

At the end of May, we had a chance to go down to Orange County for a birthday, but we stopped by South Coast Plaza because they have a huge selection down there and a friend suggested we stop in to check things out. So we stopped by a Harry Winston’s, and that’s when I found out that a small rock could basically cost the same amount as a down payment on a house. I took a business card out of embarrassment, but I was never going back there. However, at that point, it was down to two types of cuts, and the rest was on me, so I guess there were a couple of silver-linings in there.

Right after that, I contacted my friend, and we met up two weeks later. We walked in and my friend said “he knows nothing: give him the lesson.” I had a 15 minute lecture about cut, clarity, color and carat, and it was awesome. After that, I provided a budget and they walked through different ways to move up and down that budget scale. I had 3 great choices, but there was no way I was going to be able to make a decision that day, so I went home and thought about it.

I called him Monday afternoon and let him know which one I wanted. The owner asked when I wanted to get it and the conversation went like this:

Uncle Sam: “Ok so when do you want to get it?”
Me: “……uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……”
Uncle Sam: “Next weekend?”
Me: “……uhhhhhhhhhhhh ok. Ok I’ll come get it next Saturday. So, the deposit. Do you want me to mail it, or stop by, or…”
Uncle Sam: “No, no, don’t worry about it. Just come by with everything on Saturday.”

My hands were shaking when I handed over the money. This was the largest, most important purchase I’ve ever made in my life. Some people call it an investment because it appreciates in value, but I don’t consider something an investment if you don’t plan to make money off it. When I got home, I honestly just put it in a high enough place where I didn’t think she could get to haha. Now I had 2 things left: Ask for permission and figure out…when to actually use the ring.

June 25th, the Baker had a workout class with some of her friends, and I decided to just drive over and ask her dad for permission. No warning call, no head’s up; no nothing. I was just going to knock on the door, and tell him how I felt. There are times when you imagine yourself being confident like you’re going to storm in and say something with conviction, and it totally doesn’t go that way. That’s basically what happened. To be honest, it’s kind of a blur. I’m pretty sure I stammered and said something about marriage, but couldn’t repeat what I said because I can’t remember at all. Then I left to go to the store and I didn’t buy half of the things that I was supposed to buy because my mind was still a mess.

Step 1 down. Now I just had to figure out the when…and I guess…the how. She was super sick the weekend of July 4th, so I told her I felt really bad that she and that I would plan a date night to make up for it. In the past, I had told her a lot about how I had wanted to take her to Descanso Gardens. We had been to a botanical garden in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and also Huntington Library. But Descanso has a special place in my heart and I really wanted to show her how great it was. I figured that would be a great place to ask her. I just didn’t really plan out how.

Friday rolls around and I pretty much sign myself up for 2 1/2 hours of Nordstom-Sale shopping. If a girl is complaining about not having enough time to shop, never offer a time when she can do it because both you and her are available, because she will jump all over that.

After shopping and a break, we drove over to Descanso at around 3:30pm. The entire drive, I was nervous and quiet trying to figure out what I was going to say. In my mind, I was going to say something long, elaborate, and it was going to be beautiful, emotional and memorable. We walked around the property and I thought I had found the spot several time, but I was too nervous to do it.

At this time, it was getting close to closing, so no one was really around. We stopped at the Rose Garden in front of a little bench. The Baker loved how diverse it was, and said, “I think we should really utilize this place for a big event.”

This is it. This is my chance. This is the moment where I say something romantic: “You’re right. We should use this for a big event. How about a proposal?” Then I went straight into my emotional speech.

None of that happened.

She turned around and looked at the rest of the scenery talking about something (I was blacking out again…). I just kept telling myself, “Do it…do it….do it.” So I just got down on one knee, and I said her name. She turned around, and said, “IS THIS FOR REAL?!” I told her it was and then I just asked her. No long speech. Just the words. She said yes and we flagged down some stranger 5 minutes later going to another wedding and they took a picture of us.

20 minutes later, I called my mom and told her the news. Then we went to DSW, looked at shoes, and went to Firenze Osteria and had a nice dinner because I made the dinner reservation at 6:30pm and Descanso closes at 5pm. and what else are you going to do when you plan an engagement poorly? I had some great advice to just enjoy some time together before you spread the word and get blown up by everyone. So we waited til we got home, and both started calling and texting our friends. And here we are now.

And that’s it. There’s nothing magical. There’s nothing elaborate. Just me, the Baker, and a big life decision.

Thanks for reading.

– #NailedIt


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