Dear Blog,

Well, I’m an engaged man now. Colleen and I have dated for 7 wonderful years, and at this point, I knew it was time I needed to propose. So here’s my story…

Wednesday, April 6, 2011. I was sitting at the office, and the idea formulates in my head that I want to propose to Colleen where we first met. Spring Break! But, I have no idea where we were staying. I send an IM to my friend asking where we stayed, and he hadn’t a clue. Hmm, so it was time to send a mass email…

For the next few days, the group that went to 2004 Spring Break was convinced that it was Destin, FL. I could not find the hotel, but I really didn’t think too much of it. Destin, FL is where I needed to find a place to propose.

I wanted a condo, but it was going to be a minimum of 3 night stays. So I kept emailing and asking around if I can only do two nights, but no one ever really gave me a simple yes/no response. It was now April 13, and time was fast approaching, and I didn’t even think about any other details, like the ring?!?

The ring… OK, now I was in trouble. I have 10 days, and no ring. Immediately I asked my friend who was last engaged, what ring did he purchase? He had a MiaDonna Diamond. Yeah! That might be the way to go! But I was feeling nerves up to my spine. If I did order this, I knew I had no guarantee on actually getting this on time. I spoke with my brother, and he asked me why I never chose to use my dad’s ring. My dad’s ring? I never even considered it! My mom mentioned it soo many multiple times to me, but why did that thought never pop into my head!? Of course! My dad’s ring! It was time to see what it was.

Later that night, my brother emailed me pictures of it! Wow, that rock was big! But, it was sooo perfect. The 14K white gold band was perfect too. But they were not together. My mom would have to get a jeweler to put the two pieces together! So the next day, my mom dropped it off at the Jeweler and they said it would be ready by Saturday (Apr 23). What? I’m leaving on the 22nd, this would not work at all! I begged my mom to go to the jeweler everyday, and she graciously did. I can not thank my mom enough for doing so. More on the ring later.

Meanwhile, I had to find a place to stay during all this. I took off a few hours one day to get to the bottom of where I stayed in Destin, FL. After looking through some old PST files (outlook email files)… I found it! I found the email where we were planning the trip, and where I was bringing a friend! Wow, did the fates align? But it was in Biloxi! Had I not found this out, I would have been celebrating my proposal in Destin, FL, where in fact Colleen and I have never been together before! I thank my luck, fate, and all that helped me find out exactly where we first kissed. But, hmm, every time I tried to book this hotel, it says that this hotel is no longer taking reservations. Why? Was this booked? I googled it, and could not find much information on it. Hmm? I googled the hotel and the word “destroyed”. Immediately, pictures from Hurricane Katrina came up, and yup, this hotel was wiped out in 2005 along with much of biloxi shoreline buidlings. So was this really the place I was going to propose? An empty lot in Biloxi with new buildings and other empty lots all around? I had to think of something different.

Pensacola, FL. I knew I loved the place when I was younger, and it was just a bit further passed Biloxi on the road, and I figured, it was probably much nicer. So yes, Pensacola is what I decided on, and at this point it’s April 18. I needed to have a place so I could focus on the ring. A few clicks later, I spent a little bit of change, but I got this beautiful hotel room, with a view of the gulf, and I knew it was perfect. Ahh, finally I could take a breath.

The ring! OK, the ring was ready on Tuesday, April 19. Just a matter of shipping it to me. Well my mom goes to FedEx, and they see she wants it insured for a ton of money. They ask her what she is shipping, and it’s a ring of course! They said they could not send it insured without it being appraised. My mom doesn’t know what to do, so she goes back to the jeweler. The owner of the store says he would ship it. My mom sends me the tracking number on Wednesday, and my heart sinks. It was shipped USPS, $100 insured, overnight, and to my work, but not to my building, (just the university campus itself). They are never going to find me here on campus! So it was up to me to go to campus mail and tell them my story. They were more helpful after my story then before my story. They called up their contacts, and found out that it would be here Thursday. Thursday… I can live with that, but man, talk about cutting it close!

Thursday, April 21, 2011 rolls right around. Nervous as all living h-e-double hockey sticks, i go and stop by the post office like 3 times in the morning and ask if USPS express mail has arrived to no avail. I go get some lunch, and on the way back from lunch, I stop by the post office once more. OMG. The ring is there! It is waiting for me in all its brilliance. This must’ve been the 2nd happiest I ever been in this story. The hotel, the plan, nothing except hearing yes, could top getting the ring. I show the people in the post office this ring that is reflecting all the light emanating from my being. Then my friends at work. And then it went into hiding until proposal time!

Friday, April 22, 2011, day of the proposal, finally comes. Taking one breath at a time as I pack up, trying to figure out how I’m going to ask. Everything is in motion, it’s just a matter of me flowing with the motions. Colleen gets home, and we start packing up to go to the beach! I get in the car for a few seconds and tell my friend to text me a time (beyond sunset) that they will be coming (although they are not really coming!). I show Colleen the text, finish packing, and then we get on the road.

After 3-4 hours, we get to the hotel, Holiday Inn Resort, and their computer systems are down. They assign us a room, we go in, and there’s already someone in there. Ha! So we go back down, get another room, and we get in! Colleen is happy! She asks me “I wonder how much this room cost?!” Cool, so she probably thinks we are in this nice room because of all the computer problems they were having. So wow, everything is going perfect, I asked her if she wanted to walk on the beach with me…. and now the proposal is very near.

I blank my mind out, and put my body in autopilot (like the movie Click, if you ever seen it). So I hear myself making conversation, having a good time, but really I’m focused on one thing…. find a good, quiet spot to ask. After about a mile of walking down the beach, we find a spot between two hotels where we can catch the sunset and more importantly, not populated. We lay some towels down, watch the sunset, and then the sun disappears on the horizon and the clouds.

Colleen gets up to start packing up. I get up too. I get in front of her, grab her by the shoulders, and tell her about what I did (how no one was coming, and that we were spending a romantic weekend together). Then I dig in my bag, get down on one knee, pull out the ring, and asked “Colleen, will you marry me?”

– ETdoFresh