Monday, March 12, 2012

My Engagement to Emily Riggot

Well, I am finally engaged as everyone has told me, and there is quite the funny story behind the engagement I will now share.  Emily and I have been dating since May 2006 and although I was on the “5 year plan” I tore out my ACL last year and ended up sitting on the couch for a while rather than going on the Hawaiian Vacation that we had to postpone for a year.  But, this year I’m in great health and we were able to take the vacation I planned on popping the question on and although I had quite the scare before we left everything turned out perfectly and Emily was thoroughly surprised.  
I knew in the Fall of 2011 that I would propose in Hawaii and although we didn’t make it home for Christmas we were able to see the Riggott Family in a surprise trip to Disney for Emily’s brother Nick’s 30th birthday.  That is where I planned to ask her father for his daughters hand in marriage... until he suddenly was found to have a problem with his heart around Christmas.  I was both very concerned for his health as well as concerned that he wouldn’t be able to make the Disney Trip.  Emily’s dad, especially with her being his only daughter, is not the man you ask about marrying his daughter over the phone so that would have meant another thousand dollar trip home and perhaps a fishing trip with him or something.  Thankfully he was able to make the Disney trip and I was able to shock him with the question when the rest of the family made a bathroom stop at Animal Kingdom on the last day.  He was clearly not expecting it but of course gave me his blessing.  Later that night after drinks at a fancy dinner at Don Shula’s we talked a bit more about it and he seemed happy about it.  Phew... that wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be!
So, about 4 weeks later Emily was on a business trip back to Florida and I had to pick her up at PDX on a Saturday evening.  I used that week and all day on Saturday to drive around to Jewelry stores looking at rings.  I was about out of time when I saw a Morgan Jewelers shop in Cascade Station near the station and found a beautiful ring that was both unique and could be customized to accept the large pear-shaped diamond my mom said I could take from the center of her wedding ring.  A nice young girl named Kellie and the store owner Sue gave me their info and I went home with Emily that night having no clue what I had been up.  On Sunday on the couch I spent all day googling ring designs and ultimately decided that my favorite was still from the “love collection” at Morgan Jewelers.  

I had filled out all the paperwork for a 0% interest line of credit for 6 months at the store and later was surprised to hear my credit was amazing and was approved.  Nothing about this seemed wrong to me but in the end this decision for using the line of credit rather than just a card in my wallet would nearly prove disastrous.  A week later I heard I was approved and two weeks later while Emily was on a girls weekend in Bend I drove back up to Portland on a Saturday to meet with Sue and their goldsmith to shape the ring around my mother’s diamond.  This was after stopping at Berg’s to mount skis in Eugene so I had a long day of driving.  While they were working on the ring I went to the REI in Portland and bought stuff for our upcoming Hawaii Trip.  I later told Emily about the ski binding and said I had went to the REI in Eugene while there.  Thankfully, she never saw the Portland REI receipt with the store address.  
The ring turned out beautifully and I was extremely happy to not have to drive back to PDX to pick it up.  I thought all was fine and had packed it away in a safe place.  Then, on Thursday, two days before our trip I had a sinking feeling at work... What if they sent me information on my credit line!!!  On the drive home from work I called the store and inquired and the girl said it usually took 3 weeks so I would be fine.  NOPE!  I got home to discover the single piece of mail in my mailbox, THAT EMILY HAD PUT THERE, was a thick envelope from Morgan Jeweler’s with a ring on the front that said, “It’s here”.  The jig was up!  My surprise and over a year of planning was sunk.  I panicked and went for “a run” which was really a 30 minute panic streak of calling Sue at Morgan’s to explain how upset I was and to call Danielle, Sarah, and Chris (who knew about it) for support.  I couldn’t reach any of my friends at first but Sue at Morgan’s felt extremely bad about it.  I never buy Jewelry for Emily (except pearls on our anniversary) and suddenly before our first legit personal vacation paperwork from a jeweler shows up.  How more obvious could that be!?  
To remedy the situation Sue came up with an idea.  She was going to pick me out a nice white gold diamond necklace from the shop and send it down with an older employee named Patty who would meet me in Salem on Friday afternoon, the day before we left for our trip.  After a lot of thought and talking with Danielle I decided to try this plan.  I knew the necklace would throw her off but I also knew it would disappoint her as she obviously would be expecting a ring, but I figured a little disappointment would be worth the ultimate surprise later in the trip.  I later found out that Kellie, who had filled out the paper work and hadn’t thought to mention the address problem to me, spent the morning crying on Friday about what had happened.  Coming back 45 minutes later from the run that usually takes me 10 minutes, I had to make up a reason so I faked a twisted ankle and had to remain on the couch the rest of the night with a cold icepack on my perfectly fine foot while Emily cooked dinner for us.  This, I thought, would be a good way to propose - fake twisting it again on the Kalalau trail and end up on one knee...
Well, I planned on giving it to her at a nice dinner in Portland but we ended up going to a dinner theater show and the opportunity never arose.  So, I ultimately gave her the necklace at our first beach we went to just an hour after leaving the airport when she was laying in the sun.  Her expression was that of both appreciation and yet a little disappointment it seemed.... perfect!  But, I knew that I couldn’t wait another 5 days until the Kalalua trail to actually propose as I didn’t want her disappointment to ruin the trip for her.  Later that night while we were on the Manta Ray dive and I was explaining our plans to climb Mauna Kea we were told to forget climbing back down and to make sure we were up there at sunset.  This went against my belief that in a true climb you must also descend on foot as well but it dawned on me suddenly that the idea of proposing in a beautiful sunset on top of Mauna Kea (the tallest mountain in the world base to summit, about 3,000 feet taller than Everest) could not be passed up and was completely appropriate for the kind of life we both lived.

We got a late start on Monday at 2pm on Mauna Kea and with the trailhead at 9,200 and the summit at nearly 14,000 feet I had a lot of doubt that we cold climb over 4,500 feet at altitude in just four and half hours to make it to the top by sunset.  Fortunately, both I and my lovely lady are animals when it comes to climbing and we made it to the top by 6:15 with just 20 minutes to spare with perfect, yet cold, weather above a sea of clouds below us.  I couldn’t believe we made it and neither of us seemed to be in any pain from the altitude thankfully.  I encouraged Emily to start asking other tourists at the top who had driven up in their 4x4’s for a ride down while I sneaked off to sort through my bag pretending to get out camera gear.  
That’s when I called her over on one knee and asked casually, “Babe, will you do something for me?” She of course thought I meant for her to hold a camera or something.  Then I said, “Will you marry me?” and handed her the ring on one knee.  The look of surprise was priceless and after catching her breath she said, “of course!, yes!” and we embraced.  She was so excited and surprised!  All the trouble and stress I had gone through was worth it at that moment!  It was the perfect engagement.  We spent the next 20 minutes watching the sun set into a sea of clouds over the Pacific and a nice gentleman (cop from Roseville, CA) after congratulating us offered us a comfy ride down in his rental jeep.  For the rest of the night and trip she admired her engagement ring and we both practiced saying fiance to each other.  Wedding in the fall of 2012 in Oregon.  After 7 years it’s time to put your party pants on and come visit us in the Northwest!

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