(a.k.a. our "the moment... in 10 seconds or less!" version :-)
(a.k.a. our "romance novel" version :-) As early as April of 2007, I began looking for ideas for Shelley's diamond engagement ring. Of course, the first issue was the size. I requested it from Shelley, saying "If you give it to me now, I won't have to ask for it later, and it will be more of a surprise!" Four months into dating, she took her time thinking about it, but eventually, she relented. She faxed a note (with the size on it) across the country and had it delivered to me inside a pizza box! Creative, and romantic! By way of estimation, I browsed past more than a thousand different designs, all told. One day, I found a particularly beautiful ring on PriceScope.com's "Show Me The Ring" forum, and I added it to a PowerPoint presentation I was developing with the various ideas I might want to incorporate, in a final custom design. While Shelley was here visiting me, I showed her a preview of the presentation, trying to see what her reactions might be. When she saw the WhiteFlash ring, she was breath taken and exclaimed "Oh, that ring's too good for me!" Well, I didn't have much a need for the rest of the slides!
I started inquiring to http://www.whiteflash.com as far back as June 9th. I wanted the perfect ring for my perfect girl, and the helpful ladies at Whiteflash really helped me to develop the final (and beautiful) concept Shelley now wears. I'm not an artist, but I know what I like! I really appreciate the accommodation they made for my situation! I also used XE Trade to convert my funds fro m Canadian to US dollars and from my bank account to theirs - once again a great experience. Since Shelley and I met on the Internet (ChristianCafe.com, actually,) we had long since become addicts to Air Miles - even going so far as buying quantities of apple juice and other oddities to get bonus miles. When I knew when the ring would be ready, I booked my first Air Miles flight to Calgary for the proposal. Now, I had asked Shelley the last time I talked to her if I could "take her flying sometime" - so the stage for something exciting was set. I flew in to Calgary the Thursday night, and handed Shelley flowers as I met her at the airport. The next morning, I dropped Shelley off at work and borrowed her car, and drove to the Calgary Springbank Airport. The weather was so bad when I got there that my flight instructor had said "it's bad, it's going to get worse; I'm going home." Well, I had some lunch and waited out the storm in the airport café. Just as I returned to the school and was ready to leave altogether, there was a miraculous clearing in the sky! So, I asked a different instructor if he would take me up, and we went. Even this instructor was doubtful that we'd be able to do the whole flight, but the clouds had been parted sufficiently that we did it all, and I was now checked out.
So, after the flight I drove to Calgary and got to the Fed Ex office, arriving with only about a half hour before they closed. I unboxed the triple-packaged ring, knowing that there was no place for flaws - this ring had just flown nearly 3000 km! Alas, the ring was as good as the pictures WhiteFlash had emailed me suggested it would be, and I showed it off to all the ladies in FedEx, who were really excited to be a part of our story... Awaking the next morning, the weather looked very depressing - it was overcast; not good. I asked Shelley at breakfast "Shelley, if you became a contractor on your own, how much would those bags of drywall mud cost?" ... "Oh, about $15, $20 or so..." She had no idea what I was about to do... While she was in the shower, I cut open a bag of the white drywall powder and proceeded to spread it into the form of rather large letters in front of her house. I tried not to think of what would happen if the flight would not be a go... When I saw Shelley, I told her that she wasn't allowed to leave the house with her eyes open; I led my closed-eyed princess to the awaiting carriage...
In faith, we drove to the airport, and as we cleared the foothills, it opened wide to blue sky. We even stopped along the way to watch a cloud romantically waterfalling over the side of a mountain! That was really a unique experience!
We took off from Springbank in our Cessna 172, enjoying the sunshine. We flew briskly towards Canmore, enjoying having such a God's Eye View of the world, with its small problems so far beneath us. I navigated us using my GPS such that Shelley would be able to see her house below from her passenger-side cockpit window. It was difficult at first to position the plane into an ideal viewing spot, as there were a few inconveniently placed leftover puffs of that grey cloud just at our altitude... Not to be deterred, I swirled us around and asked her "do you see anything down there?" Using the video camera to zoom in on the letters, she pronounced each of them aloud:
"It says... ... 'W U M M S ?'" I paused, then asked "And what do you think that means????" (Now, Shelley can practically read my mind before I think things, so don't be surprised by what you read next!) Shelley surmised, in the most excited-questioning-crescendo-accelerating eyebrow-raising voice...
"W......i.....l....l... you marry me Shelley?!?!?" So excited, I pulled out the ring box and handed it to her (while still flying the plane, of course.) She SCREAMED and SQUEALED ! It was such an exciting moment! ...A moment later, I playfully quipped "You know... that was a question actually!" (hehe) Even more playfully, gleaming at this point, she replied "Ahh, are you going to ask it?" The moment I had waited eons for was now upon me! "Will you Marry Me Shelley?" were those five wonderful words, and she screamed "YES!" "Yes!" and squealed some more! I was smiling from ear to ear! We embraced the moment; Shelley presented her fine left hand, and I presented the token of my eternal love, sliding it onto her finger. We smiled, glowed, and kissed. We took the next few minutes to consider the excitement of what had just transpired as we flew over the town. We were very very happy. Time slowed down at this point, and we eventually headed back towards the airport. Before landing, I took time to show Shelley some maneuvers over a slivery-blue lake. It was an amazing first flight together! As we shut down at the school, I got out, walked around the plane, and opened her door. As she exited, I got down on one knee and helped her out of the aircraft. She pulled me up, and it was one loooooooooong long kiss. We were the happiest two people in the world, and truly, we still are.