You might have guessed from the photo that this post is not about food. It’s about Alex.
You’ve probably noticed Alex lurking about in several photos and posts. It’s usually his hands chopping the onions, washing the dishes, and doing all the other tasks I don’t like to do. He’s also the one cheering me up when my apple cake flops, putting up with the excessive amounts of garlic I put in every savory dish I make, and not being too weirded out by my urge to eat mayonnaise with a spoon.
I’m happy to say that Alex will now be a permanent fixture in this blog. And in my life. We’re getting married!!
In the days since our engagement, I’ve noticed that the questions people pose to the newly-betrothed usually come in the following order: 1) Can I see the ring? 2) Is the date set? 3) How did he propose? Well, consider this post an answer to at least questions one and three. Here’s the story.
This year, my roommates and I decided to throw our annual Christmas party (or, as we called it this time, the Classy Tacky Colorful Pants-a-Palooza Christmas Party) on the last day of November. I had to work all day, but Alex had the day off to prepare for the party, and as I was headed out the door, Alex said, “Oh, by the way, I’m building you something while you’re gone today!” Well then. That gave me something to ponder during my whole long shift.
Growing up, Alex always celebrated Christmas with an Advent calendar: one of those calendars with a window for each day leading up to Christmas day, and a chocolate or other treat behind each window. I, on the other hand, had never even heard of Advent until I got to college, despite an entire lifetime of churchgoing, and had always celebrated Christmas with trees, lights, cookies, and all that. This year, Alex decided that it was high time I experienced the joy of an Advent calendar for myself.
When I got home from work the day of the party, I saw what Alex had built: the biggest, best Advent calendar I’d ever seen, constructed (mostly) of four-inch cardboard boxes wrapped in ribbons!
I had a whole month of little presents: chocolates, lip balm, cupcake liners, the real Keebler Danish Wedding Cookies, tiny bottles of Bourbon, gift cards… so many treats. I was spoiled rotten.
On the 23rd, Alex again had the day off while I had a shift at work, but we arranged to meet that evening for a nice dinner. We had delicious food and wonderful conversation (and a somewhat hobbling walk back to the train, thanks to the fact that the heel had been ripped almost entirely from my right boot in between work and dinner, but that’s neither here nor there). On the way home, we decided that, since we both had work on Christmas Eve and an early flight on Christmas morning, the ideal time to open the presents under the tree was that very night. So, at Alex’s insistence, I changed out of my broken boots and work clothes into something nice for Christmas festivities.
After the presents were opened, and the living room was awash in torn wrapping paper and empty boxes, Alex got a thoughtful look in his eye and suggested that, even though I had already checked the Advent calendar that morning, maybe it was close enough to midnight that I could take a peek into the box for the 24th. I had been very mindful of the rules up to this point, and had fought every urge to peek into boxes before their appointed day, but somehow, in this case, it seemed like an excellent idea to bend the rules a bit.
As I pulled day 24’s box off the wall, I noticed that it was a little heavier than most of the others had been. I also noticed that Alex was standing awfully close to me, whereas he’d hung back on all the other days. As I opened the box, Alex said, “You know, I’ve been wanting to give you this for a long time…” and I spotted a slightly smaller box nestled inside the Advent box, and when I opened the lid, there was another, smaller box, which could only contain one thing. And then Alex got down on one knee. (I could tell you all the things he said, but I’m not going to. Those are mine to keep.)
And so we’re engaged! I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present, or a more perfect end to an already wonderful year.
Though, you might have noticed, there are no pictures here of the ring on my finger. Funny story…
Alex is a very meticulous person and had been measuring my other rings for a couple weeks while I was out of the house, in the shower, etc. He absolutely knew my ring size when he got ready to make the purchase, but evidently the salesperson did not know with whom he was dealing, and convinced Alex to get a smaller ring. I could get it on and off my finger with a little extra gumption, so I wore it all day on Christmas Eve and for our trip to Alabama the next day. However, I failed to consider that all those changes in elevation and pressure on various flights might cause a little swelling in that ring finger, and by the time I tried to take it off on Christmas night, it was clamped on for good.
At first, I wasn’t particularly ruffled by this. I was prepared to just let it stay there forever; it wasn’t like I ever wanted to take it off, anyway. However, my wise Grandmother insisted that it had to come off, or the finger would keep swelling until it became too painful. Problem was, nothing–and I mean nothing— would convince that ring to come off my finger. We thought that maybe relieving the swelling would help, so I stuck my hand in a bag of frozen corn until I could no longer feel my digits (and then some). The ring was still stuck fast. We doused my hand in canola oil and dish soap. Nothin’ doin’. I asked my former-Marine brother to pull it as hard as he could (the skin on my knuckle would eventually come back, after all). He couldn’t get it off, either (and maybe I overestimated my pain tolerance just a little bit). At this point, I started to get a little panicky.
Fortunately, my mom finally remembered that Google has all the answers to every problem. And the unlikely answer to this problem was (dum-da-dummm!) dental floss. So, if you ever find yourself with a ring hopelessly stuck on your finger, here’s what to do: slide a piece of dental floss underneath your ring (which is not as easy as it sounds when the ring has your finger in a death grip, but it can be done). Wrap the remainder of the floss around and around and around your finger, compressing and covering the entire finger. In combination, the compression of the finger and the slipperiness of the floss will help the ring slide off. Still not particularly easily, mind you, and more than a little painfully, but you will have an intact finger and an intact ring! And then you should totally go get that thing resized. Pictures of me wearing the ring will most likely show up here in the near future.
A happy new year to all!