50-33 – Our Engagement


This was inspired by the prompt, Engagement from my memoir writing group. The original prompt came from The Sun magazine.

It really is an exaggeration that our engagement was a disaster. To be fair, I didn’t know it was a disaster until later, but my future husband’s plans did not go as planned. One reason is planning is hard, and planning a surprise is hard and even he would admit, he’s not good at it. Right now, he’s planning a birthday surprise for my 50th in a few weeks, and I know it’s stressing him out. 

At the time of our engagement, I didn’t know that we would be getting engaged despite thinking that it would/should happen soon. We were on vacation in Pennsylvania.

My future husband had planned on a special dinner on a boat; not quite a cruise, I think , but the timing was wrong, and so we arrived too late to do that. There were no more tickets or the last boat had already left. I don’t remember. He was trying to come up with something else that would match his vision for this evening and there was a smaller boat that we could rent. I was appalled. I hate the water. I’m terrified of it and boats. I’m not sure why this never came up before but I was adamant that no, I wasn’t getting on that rickety, little boat. Nope. Nuh-uh.

We ended up going to dinner at the Chi-Chi’s in Harrisburg. There was a two hour wait and then they forgot about us. This was actually apropos because on our first date five years before, we were at a Chi-Chi’s with a waiter who forgot us and we ended up eating for two plus hours. That first date culminated with the movie, Stealing Home which we thought was about baseball, but was actually about suicide. That was my second first date movie that turned out to be about suicide. Maybe I should pick the movies from now on.

We did eventually get engaged on that trip, in the hotel room right before his self-imposed “deadline” – my husband likes to commemorate anniversaries, so our first date, engagement, marriage are all on the same date or the day after. It’s really very sweet.

The ring he gave me was his grandmother’s ring that his mother brought over from Northern Ireland. I treasure it and twenty-two years and three kids later, our disasters still seem to be working out.

Leap Day


It’s funny. In addition to the whole four years we’ve had waiting for today, we’ve had two entire months of expectation. Leap Day. A free day. An extra day. The problem is that the amount of pressure of something like that is palpable. I must do something special today or it will have been wasted. Those of us in school or at work today don’t have that craziness going on in their heads. Many of us don’t have it at all.

This morning, I overslept, felt sick and went back to sleep, stayed in bed much longer than I wanted to, spent about half an hour driving around trying to find the perfect place to spend my extra day; my extra special day before I ended up in a usual haunt.

Do I want a free lunch? I could have one, but I don’t really want that place. And I don’t really want a salad. That was the free thing. I also don’t want a cheeseburger. Do I want somewhere I’ve never been before? Then my husband gets mad because he likes to try out new places together. There’s a Korean BBQ place that we both are looking forward to. Should I go to an old favorite? Fast food? Absolutely not. Starbucks? I love Starbucks, but, I don’t know, it didn’t feel right.

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