A wonderful birthday

Thanks to everyone who called, emailed, and commented about our engagement. Like I said before, it’s obviously great (for me) to have such a wonderful girl, but it’s also nice to know that we have such strong support from our friends and family. I’d say that definitely bodes well for our future together.

Stay tuned to the site over the next few days. I’m working on a couple longer follow-up posts about buying the ring and talking to Stef’s folks about the proposal. Thanks for reading!

Stefy said yes!

Two days later it still feels weird to say it, but Stefanie and I got engaged this weekend! I’ll save the back story for another time (I’m working on separate posts), but here’s how things went down on Saturday…

Well, since I wasn’t able to talk with Stef’s parents about proposing before her birthday weekend back in September, my mom recommended Sweetest Day as an alternative, which I thought was perfect.

Last week I drove into Bloomfield on Friday after work, and we went out for dinner and a movie in Royal Oak just like we’d normally do on a Friday night (side note: we saw The Darjeeling Limitied, which was a HUGE disappointment — don’t waste your time).

Afterwards we came back to the house and watched some TV up in Stef’s room. Since I already knew that the weather was supposed to be nice on Saturday, I casually suggested going over to Cranbrook (where Stef went to high school, which is next door to her house) to go for a walk and take some pictures before the MSU football game.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. Before going to wake up Stefy for the day, I went out to my car to grab the ring, and put it in my the pocket of my sport coat. Once that was squared away I went to wake up Stef and we came downstairs. Teri made us a nice little breakfast, and we hung out and watched some TV. Again, nothing out of the ordinary for a weekend like this.

I took my shower while Stefy got all dolled up for the day. Before leaving for our walk, she wanted me to open my Sweetest Day gifts: the new Eric Clapton Autobiography and Stephen Colbert’s book. I thanked her for the presents, and apologized profusely for “forgetting to get her anything for Sweetest Day.”

A few minutes later we hopped in the car and drove over to Cranbrook. It was already gorgeous outside, probably in the low-to-mid 60s with a slight breeze. The temperature was pretty mild (for late October), but part of me was worried that Stef would get chilly and ask for my coat. The square box in my pocket would’ve been hard to pass off as a box of Altoids, and I wouldn’t have wanted to tell her no. Thankfully, this never happened.

We and I walked around the grounds at Cranbrook for the better part of an hour as Stef showed me some of the different highlights. Several people have asked me this, but during our little jaunt I really wasn’t nervous at all. For the most part, it just felt like a fun stroll around my girl’s old stomping grounds, which was the whole point. After a while though we came up to the beautiful fountains over by the art museum, and I decided that this was the place.

I started talking about how we had been together for three years and two months (on Sunday), and that I was kind of fibbing when I said I forgot Sweetest Day.

It’s a long story, but the day Stef and I started dating I asked if we could be “Zack and Kelly for real.” Any reference to Saved by the Bell in a marriage proposal sounds pretty cheesy, but I couldn’t resist. I started talking about how at the end of the show Zack and Kelly finally got married, and then I pulled out the little box from my pocket.

The ring box was inside the green Tiffany box, so I asked Stef if she wanted to open it. She said no. When I started to put it back in my pocket she grabbed it and pulled the bow off. I pulled out the ring box, got on one knee, and asked Stefanie if she’d make me the happiest guy in the world and marry me. She said yes.

The whole exchange took all of two minutes, and it was something of a disembodied experience for both of us. We were both standing there, smiling and hugging and smooching for a few minutes before some people started walking up behind us.

Not wanting to make a big scene in front of total strangers, we walked around for a little while and took a few pictures, but basically high-tailed it back to Stef’s house at that point. Of course, the place was empty when we got there (Stef’s folks knew what was going on, but they wanted to wait until we’d be back). So, we both whipped out our cell phones and started dialing everyone in our phonebooks: my mom, my dad, Stef’s older brother, my grandma, friends, extended family, etc.

Both of us managed to rip through about an hour’s worth of calls before Teri and Justin got home. A few minutes later Sean and Marina showed up with a huge bouquet and a bottle of champagne. Shortly after that Tim got home, and we all had a toast in the kitchen.

While I was certainly sad that my folks couldn’t be there to join us, it was really nice to have such a warm reception from Stef’s family, and it was just one of those moments I’ll never forget (one of many from this weekend, actually).

The rest of the afternoon is kind of blur at this point. We watched the MSU-OSU game and answered some more phone calls, but that’s about it. Teri had made dinner reservations for us at this local steak place, Big Rock, for 7:30, so we had a nice dinner with the Spiros that evening.

So here’s the deal. Stef will be starting grad school in Chicago in January, so we’ll probably set a date for sometime after she finishes her masters degree in 2009 (which points towards a summer 2010 wedding). There’s obviously lots of planning to do, and while 2-2.5 years seems like a long ways off, it was still fun to start brainstorming some wedding ideas with Stef’s folks over dinner on Saturday.

So yeah, it was obviously a pretty great weekend, and both of us are really excited right now. Thanks to all the well-wishers out there. I consider myself pretty lucky to have found such a great girl, but it’s also great to know that we have such a strong network of support.

Anyway, here are some pictures from this weekend, which is what you’ve been waiting for. Enjoy!

Two Quick Political Rants

(1) Okay, so this first one isn’t really a rant. I just think this story from the Onion is hysterical: 11

Reaganomics Finally Trickles Down To Area Man

“Back when Reagan was in charge, I didn’t think much of him,” Kellener, 57, said, holding up two five-dollar bills nearly three decades in the making. “But who would have thought that in 2007 I’d have this extra $10 in my pocket? He may not have lived to see it, but I’m sure President Reagan is up in heaven smiling down on me right now.”

Leading economists say Kellener’s unexpected windfall provides the first irrefutable proof of the effectiveness of Reagan’s so-called supply-side economics, and shows that the former president had “incredible, far-reaching foresight.”

“When the tax burden on the upper income brackets is lifted, the rich and not-rich alike all benefit,” said Arthur Laffer, who was a former member of Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board. “Eventually.”

So when can I expect my pair of Lincolns? 12

(2) A little over a week ago, I said I’d vote for Hillary if none of the other frontrunners were on the Michigan ballot. Well, let’s just say I’m re-thinking that position:

Chris Dodd has put together an impressive list of accomplishments and issue positions during the past year. Here are some of them:

*Promised to get all troops out of Iraq by 2013, something Clinton, Obama and Edwards did not do.
*Took leadership roles during the Iraq supplemental fight, and now during the FISA fight.
*Has also taken leadership on Habeas Corpus.
*Supports a carbon tax instead of a cap and trade policy, something Al Gore has praised Dodd for in the past.
*Always says the right thing, whether it is on Iraq, supporting the netroots or, well, seemingly anything.

Hey, if I can’t vote for Obama or Edwards (which was my original inclination), that basically leaves me Dodd and Clinton. Voting for either probably won’t make much of a difference on the outcome of the race, so I might as well go with the guy who most reflects my values. That, or I could cross over and vote for this guy.

Dinner with the Wedds

Well, Stefy and I had a lovely dinner with Ken and Margaret at Clara’s last night. It was great getting to catch up with them about everything that’s been going on over the past two years. Margaret told us about how all their kids and grandkids were doing, and I filled them in on my new job and how everyone in my family has been doing.

Ken had some health problems the spring after our trip to London, so I was a worried that he might seem a little slower/tired somehow. Nope, same old Ken… he hadn’t lost a beat. In fact, he was just as cheery and as big of a flirt with the ladies (including Stef) as I remembered.

I thought the dinner itself was nice, but Ken had some issues with the meatloaf he ordered. Apparently any food recipe that includes a spice other than salt is enough to set an Englishman’s tongue on fire. It all worked out though — once we ordered Mr. Wedd a steak and a “jacket potatoe,” he was good to go.

After dinner we dropped Ken and Margaret off at Joan’s house (she’s the one we met them through many years ago when my mom traveled to England), and stuck around for a few minutes to chitchat. Ken and Margaret’s daughter and her family, along with their eldest son and his wife, are arriving on Friday, so it sounds like we’ll meet up with the whole brood at some point next week. Stef and I met Sharon and her family two years ago, but we’ve never met their son before, so it should be fun.

Anyway, it was a great evening, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the Wedds again before they head home a couple weeks from now.

Attack of the Killer Hiccups

My dad told me about Earle’s chronic hiccups last week. This is just crazy:

Just listening to him tell his story, your heart goes out to Earle Robinson.13

“When I wake (hiccup) up in the morning (hiccup) they’re okay, they’re gone (hiccup),” he says, albeit slowly. “But (hiccup) then they come back a couple hours later (hiccup) and it’s been that way (hiccup) every (hiccup)… everyday.”

The medical explanation is his diaphragm’s contracting every few seconds or so–a case of hiccups so persistent it’s town to get a sentence out. It’s been that way since Wednesday.

His co-workers are baffled, and he says his doctors are stumped, and there are few jobs worse to have if you have hiccups than Earle’s.

He does an hour-long radio show called “Sportstalk 870″ on WKAR from 2-3 p.m. weekdays and an hour with Tim Staudt on Staudt on Sports Sundays on WILX.

Staudt explained it to viewers Sunday, and Robinson suffered through the broadcast but his radio chairs been empty for a week.

“I’m starting to feel bad,” producer Rob Bennett says, admitted they’d given him some grief. “I just want him to get back.”

“I’ve tried eating a spoonful of mustard,” he says. He also tried eating a spoonful of peanut butter, drinking water really fast, and drinking water upside down. All failed. Holding his breathe also failed. Valium is helping him sleep and, for now, he’s just praying those hiccups fade away–soon.

God, what a nightmare.

Dad, I’m assigning you the task of busting into Earle’s office tomorrow to try to scare those hiccups out of him.