Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Engage! Part 2 - The Proposal

Original Post Date: Tuesday, September 7, 2011

 I know this is Blackcomb, not Whistler, but I didn't take a pic of Whistler.

So now that I have a ring hidden away in the apartment ( I put it on a top shelf... No one but me in the apartment is over 5 feet tall), I had to figure the best way to do a “proposal”. It's weird to look at it as a proposal though, since I already PROPOSED the marriage idea when I showed her the initial designs for the ring.

Anywho, I wasn't sure how long I could put off doing the proposing. I figured Ar would have no idea how long the ring could take to be made, so I had some time there, but if I waited til say... Christmas season, then she'd probably start wondering what happened. It was getting so frustrating trying to figure out some cool way to do it, I thought about just tossing it at her while she brushed her teeth. “Here ya go lady! Don't forget to floss!”

So one night, a couple weeks ago, we were watching “Hell's Kitchen” and the theme of the dinner they had to prepare for was “Date Night”. As they showed all the couples tinging wine glasses together, Arlyn says “We need to do a date night!”. At this point I figured she knew I had the ring, and that she was wanting to do this to give me a chance to bestow it upon her.

So when I went to the gym that night I mentioned it to Kev and he says “Why don't you do date night at Hells Kitchen here?” I was thinking that Hell's Kitchen here isn't ACTUALLY Hell's Kitchen though, but then Kev reminded me that the restaurant they were in competition to run in season 6 was “Araxi” up at Whistler Mountain

So after much schedule shifting around, we headed up last Sunday, September 4th, to Whistler for our day date!

I booked reservations at Araxi for 6:15 and made sure we could get away without fancy dress. I wasn't sure what we would do up at Whistler, but I didn't want to have to bring a change of clothes to look all formal.

 Casual but cool...

We left around noon, but not before hitting Starbucks. I need fuel for the drive, and my venti frappe was the start of what would become a day of excess.

 Yes.. a pic of my drink. it was awesome.

As soon as we got to Whistler mountain, I began trying to figure when I could “propose”. It was clear we weren't going to end up wandering alone anywhere, and there's no way I would be doing this in front of a crowd, so I was thinking it would have to wait. I shall wait for a sign or something.

Now it was around 2:00 when we arrived, and we were both hungry so we decided to hit the Whistler Brewery for something to snack on. We weren't worried about eating too much - chances were the meal at Araxi would be tiny and expensive. Poutine and Chicken wings seemed nice and snacky, and not at all going to ruin our dinner.

Drink.. and DRUNK!

This walked by while we snacked... neat!

There was a market at the bottom of Blackcomb mountain ( the adjoining mountain) so we walked through and Ar picked up a little necklace for Mika. Again, pretty packed, and nowhere I could hand off a ring.

We also grabbed some gelato while at the market. Not really thinking ahead much.

This was a SMALL cone...

We found a cool little bridge walking back to Whistler village, looked romantical, but SO MANY PEOPLE. Anyways, we took a picture there as proof we were at Whistler together, at the same time.

LOTS of dogs at Whistler, it's a real dog lover place (with the exception of a little post Olympic incident). We found a fat little Boston Terrier girl. She was so cute I wanted to go home and give Hurley lots of treats – fatten him up a bit (Or a lot).

This might be a dog skull? I dunno... it was weird.

So awesomely pudgy...

When it came time to head to Araxi for dinner, neither of us were really very hungry. But we figured the meal would probably be tiny, so no problem. They had a porch, but we wanted to see the inside of the restaurant. It would also then seem more like fine dining, and we could take all kinds of pictures and pretend we were on Hell's Kitchen... sort of.

Even before we were seated I knew I wasn't going to give her the ring at dinner. There were people sitting on either side of our table. If we had a private booth then MAYBE I would have done it then, but I didn't think far enough ahead to ask for one, so no dice. Anyways, Araxi was pretty awesome... 

Arlyn got Beef Tatake... 

I got spicy tuna Roll

Seafood salads...

 Ar's pork tenderloin...

My salmon on risotto...

Ar's orange blossom creme brulee with pistachio cake...

My... Chocolate stuff.

We were both pretty much full before our main dishes had come, and we were both feeling bloated and going to burst by the time we walked out of the restaurant.

So then we were on our way back to the car, I didn't see anywhere I could give the ring, and I figured that Arlyn MUST know I have the ring, so she has to be wondering why the hell I still hadn't given it to her. I decided to steer us back towards the bridge we were at earlier, and see if it was still crowded with people. I told her I needed to walk around a bit before sitting in the car for another 2 hours.

As we neared the bridge, everyone emptied off of it. It was odd timing, and I figured my only chance. I started reaching into the camera bag and said, “welp, this looks as good a time as any...”, and pulled out the ring box.

 Maybe everyone left cuz of the Headless Horseman?

Arlyn goes “What's that?” and then upon quickly figuring it out, grabbed it from me before I could open it and put the ring on. As she was being all grabby I said “Well I could get all formal and-” and she quickly said “No... don't!” as she tried to look at the ring better in the blue light from the bridge.

Suddenly she says “Hey, you could have at least put it on my finger!”

“You didn't give me a chance! You grabbed it before I even got the box open!”

So I took the ring back and cheesily asked the traditional question to which she said “yah!”. However, I would later find out she doesn't even remember this part happening, so apparently she was more distracted with the ring than I thought.

We got back to the car and Ar phoned her Mom, who asked if we were pregnant, and I tried to call my parents, but they were out (they are always out). That was pretty much the rest of the night; letting people in on the engagement, changing Facebook statuses, all the traditions. I had to call my brother the next morning cuz it was 2 AM his time when we got back.

The person who I would say had the biggest reaction was Mika. When we got home Mika was expecting to get something from Whistler, cuz her Nana told her to stay up for us. We gave her the Whistler snow globe first, (which she was expecting) and wondered aloud why Nana would be so excited about it (Nana squealed on the phone when we told her). We then gave her the necklace, and after seeing that, Arlyn showed her the ring and told her “We're getting married”.

She kept saying she didn't believe us, but then when she finally realized we weren't messing with her, she jumped up and hugged her mom. It was like that scene when Leon rescues Matilda from the police station, except in this situation Leon was only 5 feet tall. This was then followed with requests to be Junior bridesmaids with her cousin, Annabelle, and gasps of “We get to go dress shopping!”.

So anyways, blah blah blah... That's how it went down!

So to finish up this REALLY long post....

Super thanks to Don Stuart for enthusiastically putting up with my many questions and putting the ring together.

I'm very lucky to be getting engaged to my best friend who's been in my life for the last 15 or so years, and to have enough people in my life that care about such news that I was still informing people about it early into the week. Though, when I actually think about it, I would say that it's less “luck” and more that I'm extremely blessed, and I'm very appreciative for it.

Engage! Part 1 - The Ring

Original Post Date: Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The single most intimidating part of getting engaged is having to buy a ring. I'm a traditionalist in some regards, and thought if I ever did a proposal that I would want to do it the way I've seen it done in movies and TV. Of course this means you reveal the ring in some showy way, either in front of people or alone and romantical. It's also super surprising and the diamond blows the girls mind. However, I'm terrible at picking out jewelery, and I'm not big on being the center of attention unless I'm really drunk.

So as I'm starting to think about how I'm going to deal with the picking of a ring issue, my friend Meeka Stuart got engaged. She posted pictures of her ring online and wrote about how her dad, Donald Stuart, both designed and made it.

You can see his work and read about him here:

I liked the ring a lot. The ring didn't look like your traditional ring, but then I figured we weren't very traditional with anything else, so maybe Arlyn would be into that. I messaged Meeka and asked if her Dad did commissions, and she told me she would get me in contact with him.

I still wasn't sure this ring would play out... but then we met with Meeka in Toronto a couple months later and Arlyn saw her ring in person. She also liked it a lot and so I figured I was good to go. Just needed to save some cash.

Fast Forward almost TWO YEARS.

I started back and forth with Don Stuart a month or so before Arlyn's birthday in June. He sent me a questionnaire about what she would like in a ring, and sent some samples of other ring designs. It was a pretty easy process – easy in that I answered “I don't know” to most of it and decided I would have to let Arlyn into the process pretty early. I really had no idea what she would like. Arlyn and I are WAY to finicky about art and design, and sometimes completely disagree on what we like.

So on her birthday, June 14, I let her in on the plans, and showed her a couple of initial designs. I had a few things right, but for the most part I was WAY off in what I thought she would go for. After a few back and forth e-mails with Don, we settled on a mix of these two designs:

The one major change that Arlyn wanted from my initial designs was to go with a red ruby (my birthstone) rather than a diamond. The little dark triangle was something I opted for in the design – it was to be stone inlay from a pebble I grabbed from the beach in Tofino. Tofino is kind of our favorite place to chill out, and also where I want to grow old and wrinkly with her.

From those designs, Don sent us a couple wax moulds to try out for size and to make further design changes... This is the wax mould with a citron stone for size reference.

The waxes were the last thing I let her see before cutting her off. I sent them right back to Don, with the Tofino pebbles... 

...and within 2 weeks I received these pics...

This is the rough ring with our selected Tofino rocks and ruby. We left it up to Don to decide which rock would work best as an inlay once the rocks were polished.

This is the chunk of Tofino rock for the inlay.

Don covered the ring with masking tape when gluing (epoxy) in the stone, so that the epoxy does not smear all over. It' in tweezers in an electric fry pan (lined with foil) set at a low temperature to quicken the curing time of the epoxy. 

And the final ring, all put together....

And only a couple days after that, I had the ring in hand. It all happened REALLY fast. Faster than I expected, and I hadn't really been thinking much of how to reveal the ring. And I guess I still had to officially propose, though it's not like it would be a huge surprise or anything...