Wednesday, June 8, 2005

I’m very drunk now. You’ll have to excuse my condition. Today was the big day, the day I’ve been planning for over a month that I couldn’t talk about here because Doolies might read it (not that she would read every word, but that she might read the Doolies part and know what I had planned, which would ruin the surprise). I proposed to Doolies tonight at dinner and she accepted. We are now engaged. That’s a strange word to write about myself: engaged. This has been a long time coming. We went out for the first time around Halloween in October 2002, and after a bit less than three years, I popped the question. I was very sneaky about the popping part, something I will explain in the rest of these words today. (Isn’t it great that I have all these words to get through today? You won’t miss a thing—not that most of you care, but this is exceptionally interesting to Doolies and me, and probably my mother.)

As I type this, I’m attempting to drink at least half a bottle of a large Poland Spring water bottle. I drank way too much wine and champagne tonight as I worked up the courage to ask Doolies to marry me. I now have to fully hydrate myself or run the risk of waking up miserable tomorrow. I’ll post this tonight, although it will cost me $10 for 24 hours of internet, which I will probably only use half of. But no worries. After dropping lots of money on Doolies’s sparkly ring, and a little less money on my most expensive dinner for two persons ever. That’s no worry, of course. Tonight was a special night, a night I had planned for the last month and a half.

I’m about a quarter of the way through my water bottle. This will be the judge of the length of this musing. Why babble about word count, when I can babble about hydration? Doolies has hinted at me for the last couple months about the ring. We had discussed it, and decided that I should buy one before she made her decision about applying for a fellowship for next year. That is, she hinted, and I listened carefully. She was becoming a bit frustrated speaking with her friends and family, most of which kept asking her, when is he going to ask you to marry you? Her answer to those queries was he’ll get to it eventually, but probably before December; at least that’s what we decided. As I said before (I’m likely to repeat myself in my inebriated state, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me—although, I’m not sure if Doolies will forgive this crazy, drunken musing), this was all a surprise for Doolies. We had agreed that I would propose before December because that was when she would have to make her decision about her next year’s fellowship.

Speaking of fellowships, Doolies and I agreed that next year, when she moved in with me, she would (in a year from June, which is a year from now) apply for a fellowship in Seattle, so we can spend a year in Seattle before I have to make my decision about where I want to work, which, we’re leaning toward NYC—a place I feel more at home than anywhere in the world. The fellowship, which I was trying to talk about before becoming drunkenly (like most of today’s musing the drunken part should be a given) distracted, will be in Geriatrics, which lasts a year past her normal three-year family medicine residency. She has signed up for a one-month rotation in a Seattle hospital in September, the same place she would do her one-year fellowship.

Okay, enough preparation for the description of what happened, I’ll get to the description of how I did it, and the planning, etc. It’s difficult to concentrate on this musing as Doolies calls her family to tell them what happened, but I am dedicated here, and I will get to it when I get to it. My mind is still wavy, and I’m trying to find the concentration necessary to get this across, as Doolies keeps handing me the phone to talk to her parents and sister. I don’t think they really want to speak to me, but Doolies is forcing it on them.

Okay, I’m really going to get to what happened now. I was going to get to what happened, but Doolies interrupted me with a kissing moment—the moment lasted about thirty minutes, but you know how that goes. My water bottle is about one-third of the way through, and I still have to tell you what happened. I’m getting to it, calm down.

I started the planning a couple of months ago. Doolies had returned from China, and she started hinting that we had gone out long enough, and perhaps it was time to buy her something diamondy. I, of course, resisted, being a guy and all. And, in case you forget, a rather fearful guy, afraid of heights, dark places, and, above all, commitments since commitments means I’m leaving myself out there to be hurt. But that is another story for another time. When Doolies started to talk about the ring (she never actually brought up the ring, but she kept wanting to bring me places that coincidentally sold rings), I decided that it was time. I love Doolies, and I want to spend the rest of my life with her, and it was silly to ask her to wait, especially after I asked her to move to Seattle with me.

So, a few months ago I made the plan. We would go to Vancouver for the first half of our vacation, I’d ask her in Vancouver, and then we’d go to the NYC for the second half, and I’d show off Doolies with her new ring to my family and her family with her new sparkly ring. After making the plan, I spoke to my cousin Nancy who told me, after a weekend visit to Vancouver, that perhaps Vancouver wasn’t the best place. I had already decided that before I spoke to her, however, mostly because I didn’t know a good place to bring Doolies. It was too risky to bring her to a place I’d never been before. What if the service or food wasn’t up to par? That would be unacceptable for such an important day. I decided that it had to be NYC—I had an ulterior motive as well. I still want to move back here in a few years, and I figured if I piled on enough good memories in NYC, it would be easier to manipulate . . . err, convince Doolies to move here.

It was settled. We booked our NYC trip a couple of months ago, and then I started worrying about the ring. The first step in deciding what type of ring I wanted to buy was to figure out how much I should spend. This is a bigger question than most people know, especially after you start working for a living in a good job. There is the de Beers (or is it Bears? Who cares) methodology, which is something like two-months salary, which, I finally figured out was rather ridiculous when you get into the six-figure salary range. Only one of my colleagues even proposed a number close to that, and he had spent around $700 on his wife’s engagement ring, which got me thinking that perhaps he didn’t like me much and was trying to get me to spend ridiculous amounts on my ring.

That’s when I called Mr. Reliable. I always knew it would come down to his advice. He’s my metrosexual friend (although, don’t tell him I called him that): Tamer from Houston. He’s a great dresser, a very suave man, who buys presents that always melt the knees of his current conquests. After I called him, it turned out, he had just proposed to his girlfriend Tamara, but didn’t want to “steal my thunder” (as he recounted two days later when he called me to give his own thunder), with the news that he was engaged. I held this news back from Doolies, not wanting to provide her with more fodder about my own lack of a ring (although it was already planned by this time), but I let it slip a few days ago, which began an entire new renunciation (I’m still drunk, and although that word looks long, I’m pretty sure it’s the wrong word), relating to why Tamer was getting engaged but she was not. This was a theme of a few conversations over the last couple of weeks, which was particularly poignant, especially after I bought the ring and was staring at it as I spoke to her. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Tamer suggested the right amount (as I see it now) to spend on the ring, and I followed his guidance, ending up a bit above because of tax and the fancy band, which I felt Doolies would like because of its sparkliness (another made up word—but I figure I’m allowed because of all the great things that happened today).

My sister Randy came up last week, and Randy and my cousin Nancy, and I went to Seattle to find a ring. We first visited the place I bought the ring (it’s called “Seattle’s Tiffany’s,” aka Turgeon Raine). We found two rings that we liked—actually, one ring I like, and one ring Randy liked. I had Rachel, the saleswoman, write down the one I liked (seeing as I was buying the ring and not Randy), and we visited a few other places. None of the rings in those places cried out to me—and the ambiance in the other few places didn’t cry out for rings to be bought there—and we returned to Turgeon Raine around 5:20pm, ten minutes before the store closed. We spent the next thirty minutes picking out the right diamond for the setting. Randy was particularly selective, sure that there was a smudge in the diamond of the ring I finally picked out. I think she was seeing things, but that’s just me. It took them around four days to put the diamond into the setting I chose, and I picked it up on the Thursday before I was to leave (my flight left on Saturday, in case you forgot).

I’m a little past the halfway mark of the water bottle, but I’m thinking I should drink at least three-quarters of the bottle to be absolutely safe. Doolies and I are meeting up with Doolies’s family tomorrow night (except for her mother, who we’ll visit with on Saturday), and I’d rather not be too miserable for that meeting.

About a month ago, after I decided, with Doolies’s urgings (her father recommended that we skip the whole Vancouver-thing, and go directly to NYC) to go directly to NYC, I made a reservation at Jean-Georges Restaurant, one of the top French restaurants in the city, and a favorite from my misspent summer associate program at the law firm, where the associates got to treat out the summer associates to $50/person lunches to impress them that the firm was a good place to work full time (it wasn’t—but the summer program was good enough to get me to sign aboard for a couple of years; so, I guess, in the end it paid off for them in a small way).

I’m getting to point. I made the reservation about a month ago. Keeping all of this from Doolies was very difficult, particularly since I am so used to telling Doolies everything. I cashed out my mutual fund, which I had saved up during my law firm day (they paid me too much, and I live relatively cheaply, allowing me to save a bunch of money every year, that was somehow—not through any of my own skills—grew enough to leave me a little left over after buying the ring), leaving me enough to buy the ring and pay for painting the Castle, which was an added bonus. The check hasn’t cleared yet (another discussion I’ve been dying to have with Doolies, as I wait patiently for the check to clear before my credit card bill is due), but it should before I’m due. (Yeah, I know I keep repeating myself, but you try to write after all I’ve been through tonight.)

So, I bought the ring, made the reservation, and somehow kept this all from Doolies (something I ruefully described to Doolies as “sneaky,” “tricksy,” and downright “diabolical” (I made up that last one)). It was then time to take Doolies out. We spent the first part of the week in Brooklyn. (Doolies just got out of her evening shower—her third one of the day!—and she’s examining the ring on her finger; she’s decided that her finger I slanted, but the ring is fancy enough to make up for any slants.) I would have cut the Brooklyn trick off by a day, but I didn’t want to leave the ring in the hotel room—something I shouldn’t have worried so much about because the hotel had a nice safe, which I used to hide/keep the ring safe while we wandered the streets before dinner.

The dinner was incredible as always. We each ordered a different seven-course meal, which was, as I tried to say in the last sentence, phenomenal. I had originally planned to ask Doolies around the third course because of the fullness factor, but, after tasting the food and watching the service, I decided to wait until after dessert, which was many courses, and many aggravating minutes away.

They sat us at a wonderful table: the king and queen table, in that it was a side-by-side seat that overlooked the rest of the main dining room. I guess making the reservation early was a good move on my part. The dinner was wonderful (did I mention that already?), especially a fish dish they served me with a popcorn-like sauce, which I declared would be the best food I would ever taste (I still hold to that conviction).

After dessert, and after Doolies went to the bathroom to freshen up, I ordered another half glass of champagne (Doolies still had more than her half of champagne left), partly to toast our engagement (if it worked out), and partly because I was running out of wine, and I wanted to make sure my liquid courage was fully, well, liquid. When she returned, I started kissing her continuously.

I then said, “am I a good Davids?” And she said yes. I repeated this a few times, asking her if she was a good Doolies, and the I said, “I have a question to ask you.” This is when she claims to have figured it all out. She wouldn’t put everything together until later, when I revealed all the details, all the hints that were inadvertently thrown across her path (such as my mother revealing that I had made a reservation at a fancy restaurant, after I had left that a secret, throwing more subterfuge in the path of Doolies; and my mother’s neighbor, thinking the deed was done over the week asking Doolies and I, “And, so, the big day is over; how did it go?” To which I had to respond, “what are you talking about,” in my meanness David expression). Then I said, “Doolies, I love you, I love you very much. Will you marry me.” By this time, I was crying, and Doolies was crying, and she said yes, and I presented her with the green box with the ring. She put it on, and we were kissing and crying and kissing. She didn’t even look at the ring until we finished kissing for fifteen minutes. The waiters, being terribly professional, left us alone during this entire interlude. When she looked at the ring, I told her the whole story, how everything came together; the secrets I had to keep; how I told everyone I knew: my family, my friends (except for my video game friends, because I wasn’t sure they could keep the secret while we played video games) what I had planned because I had to tell someone, seeing as I usually tell Doolies everything. It all came flooding out in a drunken stupor.

Doolies is done her shower and is now reading wearing her beautiful new ring. I’m going to post this, and then hold her and kiss her and we’ll go to sleep (or perhaps do other things). There are probably many details I left out that will occur to me after I post this, but I think I hit most of the salient points. In short: I love Doolies, and, as it turns out, she loves me too, and we’re getting married. I have about a quarter of my water bottle left, but I’m too happy to care.

Word count (as if I was counting for today’s musing): 3,009 (yeah, I forgot this in the original posting--I had more important things on my mind then); caffeine: espresso at the end of dinner, to ensure that more than alcohol kept me writing today. Feeling: wonderful (I’ll leave off the terrible “priceless” joke that was going through my head, or partly so).

Link to Doolies's version