1-9-12 = E-Day

I’m engaged.

I got engaged about 6:20ish on Wednesday, January 9th.  At Biaggi’s off Old Sauk Road in Madison, WI.  Settle in… here’s the story… 

Just another Wednesday:

It was a normal Wednesday.  I had to work and then had a doctor’s appointment right afterwards.  Normally Jason and I have a dinner/date night on Thursday night.  On this week however, Jason was getting his wisdom teeth removed on Thursday and I had the thought that we would be able to do our normal dinner.  This was key because when Jason suggested we go out for dinner Wednesday night, it was right along with what I was thinking so I didn’t think it was odd at all.

He suggested that we meet after my doctor’s appointment and change it up by going to dinner in Madison somewhere.  That sounded fine to me. I was starting a cold and was a little indifferent and tired.  As long as he was there and food was served, I was going to be happy.

Once my appointment was over and we made meeting arrangement (Kwik trip on Highway 19 by the interstate)… very clandestine. I sat in the car and patiently waited.  I listened to the radio and watched cars come and go.  Normally a very impatient person, I was completely content to sit and wait for Jason.  He mentioned he was just getting on the interstate so I assumed he had just come from home.

Once he met me there we decided to leave my car and ride together.  When I hopped in his car, I noticed he was clean-shaved, had a button down shirt on and smelled pretty darn good.  I was teasing him and thinking how nice he looked.  Jason likes to look nice when we go out to dinner, especially somewhere new… so I wasn’t at all suspicious or excited at this point.  Just tired and happy.  We rode most of the way to dinner in either silence, or me rambling on about work and my day, etc.  He was pretty calm (looking back and knowing what I know now).

I asked where we were going and he said, “The west side”.  This was surprising since we didn’t eat on the West Side of Madison very often.  So I asked if he had a plan… he replied, “Of course I have a plan!”.  A little stronger response than I was expecting so I just laughed and went along with it.  It was clear he was trying to be clever and surprise me so I didn’t ask any questions and just enjoyed the ride.  He ends up taking the Old Sauk exit which leads to a couple different restaurants and finally pulls into Portofino Place.

Location/setting the stage:

We show up at the restaurant and have to park way in the back.  Jason seems a little flummoxed and declares that he should have dropped me off and then parked.  I told him that was nonsense because I liked to walk.  We walked hand in hand past panera bread, which he pretended was where we were going for a minute (it wasn’t very convincing because he doesn’t really like to eat there anyways).  Then we continued to make our way around to Biaggi’s front entrance. 

He swung the door open for me and the hostess looked very happy to see us.  She asked if we had reservations, I just shrugged and looked at Jason.  The restaurant looked half empty so it didn’t occur to me that we would have one (or that Jason even would have thought to make one since I didn’t even know he knew this restaurant existed!).  Jason declared that we did and she found him on a list and promptly crossed him off.

We went around the hostess area and started off through the maze of tables in the dining area. Most of the inner tables were empty, however most of the booths were taken.  There was one lone booth in the far corner that was empty, except a giant vase of pretty flowers.  I had a suspicion that might be our table but quickly swatted it away… UNTIL that is exactly where the hostess took us!  Now, everyone has asked if THAT was the moment I knew something was going to happen. 

Not. At. All. 

Jason has been known, on several occasions, to really shine with romantic flair, unknown to many closest to him… he really has a romantic zeal about him when he puts his mind to it.  The thought that he might have called ahead and confirmed or arranged some kind of sweet-heart dinner deal was not that far-fetched and that is what I decided must have happened.

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Our waiter came up to our table and asked what the occasion was.  Jason replied that it was just a nice dinner out for both of us.  I thought that was very sweet and the waiter promptly went off and fetched a candle to amp-up our lovely dinner atmosphere. After twisting our arms (not) to up our drink from glasses of wine to a bottle, and watching us eat our bread like rabid wildebeests, he suggested some food options for us.  Here is a summation of those details…

Food/Drink:

We enjoyed a bottle of this wine (Fontanafredda Briccotondo Barbera 2010) because it came highly recommended by the waiter due to our love of Pinot Noirs and also because it was made in Italy… similar to Jason… And is was amazing!

My main course: BUTTERNUT SQUASH RAVIOLI
Roasted butternut squash-filled ravioli tossed in
a sage-brown-butter sauce with toasted walnuts,
diced butternut squash and Parmesan cheese.

Jason’s main course: CHICKEN PARMESAN
Breast of chicken delicately breaded, lightly fried and baked
with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Served with
spaghetti tossed in our light tomato cream sauce.

“On the House” dessert we shared: TORTA CIOCCOLATA
A chocolate lover’s dream – dense chocolate
cake with a rich chocolate-walnut icing.
Served warm with vanilla ice cream.

“The” Moment:

It was after we had ordered our main courses and while licking our fingers clean of our first bread basket that Jason started to get exceedingly twitchy.  He was looking around the restaurant so much I started to become curious that maybe we were meeting someone there and that was the surprise. I asked why he kept looking like he was looking for someone?  AND… why was he being so twitchy!  He assured me he was just hungry.  I do weird things when I get hungry, so this was a plausible explanation.

Suddenly he turns to me, hold my knee and says, “I hope this is a surprise!”…

Awkward Pause…

Me: “What is a surprise?” — smiling at my odd boyfriend.

Jason: “Will you marry me?”

Me: “Yes!” — still thinking… “haven’t we been over this before, of course I’ll marry you someday”.

THEN… DUN DUN DUN {that’s my dramatic music notes)

He pulls out the most amazing and gorgeous ring… ever.  And tries to hand it to me… NOW I’m excited!  I demand that he place the ring on my finger, because that is definitely how it is supposed to be done.  Then I proceed to giggle, hysterically.  We kissed, a lot.  More giggling happened.  Repeat, repeat.

He told me he wanted to say so much more, but it just didn’t work out (how cute).  I said that was fine, he could tell me another time.  Then he admitted the reason he had been so distracted was because he wanted to get down on one knee but just couldn’t figure out the logistics with the way the booth was set up and all the waiters milling about.  It was okay with me.  I think it ended up perfect and perfectly us!

The waiter comes up to check on our wine/bread situation and I very demurely shout at him, “I JUST GOT ENGAGED!!!!!”… Accompanied with dramatic gestures to my ring and a huge smile.  Yup, my waiter was the first person I told. 

I immediately turned to Jason and said, “Don’t tell my Mom that I told a waiter before her!”.

The waiter was so excited for us! He had a waiter-in-training as his side kick that evening and he was also so very excited for us!  They even gave us free dessert!  They took our picture for us, which is wild because they had to offer… normally I’m quick with the camera and not shy to ask for photo-assistance… I was not firing on all photo-cylinders… obviously!

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Spreading the word & revelations:

I called my Mom, Dad and Sister immediately and filled them in.  After talking with my Dad is when Jason let me in on another secret.  He had called and asked my Dad for permission to marry his daughter!  THAT… made me so happy.  It was so special that he included my Dad and they had this special secret and moment that is just there’s.  How special is that?  It makes me love him that much more!

He also revealed at this time that he had come to the restaurant earlier and HAND DELIVERED the bouquet of flowers that he had picked out himself earlier that evening!  How’s that for planning and thoughtfulness?  I’m falling in love with the evening all over again just retelling it!  <3

I found out that he had hand-picked the center diamond of the solitaire and then picked the setting to go with it.  He told me all about the cut, color and quality of the diamond.  It all went right over my head since I had absolutely ZERO input to his searching, deciding or buying my ring.  He was adamant that it was his special secret and decision to make.  He did darn good! 

On our way home, between staring at my sparkly ring and calling each other “fiance” randomly, I also let a couple of friends know because I was so excited.  I did rush in and change my status after a few people mentioned the exciting news on Facebook.  Changing from “in a relationship” to “engaged” for all my friends and family to see (all over the continent) and be congratulated on the same day… was pretty special!

We took our little party down to the Thirsty Moose (bar on the lake by our house) where we basked in our little glory a while longer.  Finally tired, a little sickly and still full from dinner we crawled into bed and spent our first night together as an engaged couple.

The next morning:

I did have a moment of panic through the middle of the night where I realized I was agreeing to forever, that moment quickly passed followed by just a comforting sense of “agreeing to forever”.  Jason called Vince on his way to work (and Vince’s way to school) and told him the good news.  For a 10 year old who just found out his Dad was getting re-married… and sitting next to his Mom… he handled it really well.  He just said, “that’s cool” and told his Mom.  She wished us the best and that was the last really important chain of communication we needed to close.  It was nice to have everyone knowing and celebrating with us.

We have Vince this weekend so I can’t wait to see if he has extra questions or wedding input (he has turned out to be quite the little wedding planner when he gets ideas in his head).  The last time I asked him what he wanted to be “IF” (now WHEN!) his dad and I got married… he replied, “Security”.  That makes me smile every time I think of it.  I picture a t-shirt with a tux on the front and “event security” on the back. 

I have told most of my coworkers and still have moments of giddiness when I think about being engaged.  How exciting.  I’m looking forward to all the things that the next year or so have to bring and planning our big day.  I have no date in mind yet, no details ironed out.  I just now I’m getting married to the love of my life, my best friend and the kindest man I’ve ever known.  That’s enough.  More than enough.

Humorous side note:

On Tuesday (the night before) I had let my impatience get the best of me and had declared to Jason that I just KNEW that he wasn’t even trying to save, probably hadn’t even looked at rings, and wasn’t taking our possible future engagement seriously.  I was so upset and he kinda chuckled at me.  At that moment I envisioned ripping his arms off and beating him senseless. 

Now… I’m glad I didn’t.

Funny how things work out sometimes :)

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