Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One year ago today, this happened

This was originally written last summer for our wedding blog (, but considering it has now officially been one year ago (TODAY) since I proposed to my amazingly beautiful bride-to-be, I felt the need to repost this here.
Casey’s side of things.
Of course, if we are talking about my side of the proposal, it has to begin back when “ring shopping” began. First off, I remember telling Marek a year ago about my ideas on proposals in regards to ring shopping. I told her (upon hearing another couple’s “story”) that I didn’t agree that both people should be looking at rings together because I felt it took the surprise/excitement/sentiment out of “the biggest moment” in that couple’s young lives. I know that bigger moments will come (days kids are born, etc.) but up until now, days don’t get any bigger than asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you. So, she knew that if we were ever going to get married, we wouldn’t go ring-shopping together. It would be me, with almost zero fashion sense (so I’m told), buying something that my soon-to-be bride will wear for the rest of her life and hopefully passed on to future generations…
Knowing that I was about to take on this adventure, I began my ring-shopping adventure at (where else?) Samuel Gordon Jewelers. I met up with Dan Gordon immediately after walking in the store and sat down with him for nearly an hour, going through all the options on settings, diamonds and bands. I began to narrow down my options and when I left the store I felt that the ring I narrowed it down to would look amazing on Marek’s finger. Now, I hadn’t purchased anything yet, I just had in my mind my favorite ring from Samuel Gordon and went home to do some more research. After another hour at home browsing online prices and checking other stores in Oklahoma for anything that would catch my eye, I closed my computer and just decided I would take a week or two and think about it more and decide on a later date (trying not to buy something so important) on an impulse.
Fast forward to one week later. Marek decides to start talking about what her perfect ring would look like. Me, pretending not to care and acting like that was another year or two in the future, mindfully took notes on settings/diamond cuts/ring sizes. At the end of the fun/awkward/ironic conversation…Marek had basically describe the ring I picked out for her at Samuel Gordon Jewelers. Now, feeling as nervous as ever, I knew my search for “the perfect ring” could end. I was going to buy the ring immediately, have it resized…then wait for it to snow.
If anyone knows Marek at all, they know that Marek’s favorite thing in the world is snow. I had played out 100 different proposals in my head and settled on the one I thought would be the best for her. A proposal that she would remember. One that would be at a place she could revisit decades from now, point out the place for her grandkids and once or twice a year (when snowy flakes hit her face) would bring her back to the time when she felt as much joy as she had known. I chose to take her on a walk through the Myriad Botanical Gardens, when the gardens were white with snow.
The one downfall with this idea is that the timing wasn’t really up to me. It was up to Old Man Winter to bring me some fresh powder. It didn’t help my day-to-day nerves that we were going through one of the hottest winters in Oklahoma history. A daily watch of the 7-day forecast kept me on edge for about 2 weeks until Lord Gary England began tempting the city with a 1″-2″ of snow.
Sure enough, Sunday night, Feb. 12 (shout-out to Abe Lincoln’s birthday) it began to snow. As I imagined, Marek ran outside about every 20 minutes to see/feel the snow come down. I just kept telling myself that we’ll only get an inch of snow and it won’t stay on the ground, not even over night. I was completely wrong.
I woke up the next morning, looked outside, everything was white. I checked the forecast, high of 40 expected…this might be my only chance for a snowy Oklahoma City proposal this year. I planted the idea of going on a walk in the Myriad Gardens (not the the most unusual idea, we do sporadic things like this all the time) and she happily accepted. I then grabbed the ring (hidden in my easter basket in the closet), grabbed my video camera (I had just shot film the previous week and told her I was going to upload it during my lunch break) and headed out. That morning I called my friend Doug Vrooman to make sure he was available to follow-through with our plans to have him film the engagement…he was still onboard.
I tried to get Marek to join me for the walk at lunchtime (trying not to let the snow melt), she was pretty busy though as it was her second to last day at her job (leaving United Way to go work at Koch Communications) and she would be tied up until about 5:15…5:15 sounded good to me. I had Doug meet me at my office at 4:45 and we drove over to the Myriad Gardens. We mapped out where Marek and I would be walking from (entering NE corner), walking across the Gardens and down to the pond, stopping across from the stage and between the bridges…then, I would take the knee. After Doug dropped me off at work and headed back up to the Gardens, Marek pulled up and parked a few minutes later. We would walk to the Gardens. We would talk about things I can’t remember. My heart racing and mind flooded trying to take mental photos of everything around me. With the snow 90% melted and not a single person in sight (Doug is hidden), we make out way across the Gardens. We made our way down to the pond. We made our way to the “kneeling spot” and we stopped. We made chit-chat, and we made an announcement. It was time to plan a wedding.
Marek’s side of things.
Monday morning, we awoke to a yard full of snow. While eating the breakfast in bed Casey had made, he suggested we go on a snowy walk through the Myriad Gardensthat afternoon. If there’s anything you should know, it’s that I love snow. It’s serene, pure, beautiful. Walking through the newly redone Myriad Gardens with the love of my life sounded like a fantastic plan, especially in the snow. As the day went on, the snow began to melt. After lunch, Casey texted to see what time I could meet him for our walk. It was my 2nd to last day at United Way, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to leave at 5. However, I was pretty dead set on seeing what snow was left in the Gardens, so I was able to leave at 5.
I pulled up to Casey’s office, and he was standing outside. We started our walk. The entire time, Casey is being overly sweet. Gushy, even. As we walked through the north side of the Myriad Gardens, it was a walk like any other. We talked about the new Devon Tower, how great the city is becoming, how iconic the Gardens are going to be in the future. We talked about how much we wished there was still snow on the ground. We talked about how much we like each other.
Casey suggested we walk down the path opposite of the Water Stage. As we walked down the stairs, Casey kept mentioning how much he wanted to do this more. When I asked how often, he simply answered, “forever.” He told me how much he loved me and that he didn’t want me to think it was just because it was close to Valentine’s Day that he was saying this. At this point, we had stopped on the path, and we just kept talking. At one point, Casey mentioned that he wished we could have played in the snow while we were there. Obviously, I started doing air snow angels. And that’s when it happened.
He grabbed my right hand, kissed it, put it down. He grabbed my left hand, kissed it, held it. Then he said, “When I went to dinner with your parents, it wasn’t just to eat dinner,” and then he dropped to his knee. “Will you marry me?” And then I cried. I was shocked. So very happy and shocked. “You haven’t said yes yet…” “YES!!!!!!” He stood up and we kissed. And we hugged. And I looked at my ring a hundred different times. And we kissed. And we told each other how much we loved each other. And we kissed. And then he told me that the video camera he had taken to work that day had captured the entire walk through the Gardens. Once I saw our friend Doug standing above the Water Stage, I was so happy this moment had been captured!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

From a Pro Marriage Guy to the Overly Pro Marriage Legislator

I came across this article today in The Oklahoman today:

There is currently a bill in the Oklahoma Legislature that is aiming to make it more difficult to get divorced. I think the only thing the bill's author and myself have in common is that we both want strong marriages and families, however, we both have very different viewpoints on what the real issue is.

 In Oklahoma, it is quite common for people to get married at a real young age. The national average for males is 29 years old and the average for females is 27. Averages in Oklahoma? 26 for males and 23 for females. Why the big discrepancy? Good or bad, it is likely related to social pressures / social norms in our state.

Getting married young isn't necessarily bad and by no means does it automatically mean you will end up in divorce, but knowing we are in the top 3 states of "Youngest to Marry" (with Utah and Arkansas) we are also in the top 3 for most divorced adults (with Nevada and Maine) and we are #1 in this great nation for those who have been married THREE times...there is something in the water that makes the State of Oklahoma (a prominent resident of the Bible Belt) one where people tend to say "I do (but I don't mean it)" at an early age. -

Just the facts, ma'am.

The Oklahoman legislator, Mark McCullough, believes the answer to our rising divorce numbers is just to make people stay married - especially if they have kids... What if the parents are always yelling at each other? What if peace and stability will be achieved after divorce? What if keeping people physically binded in the "failed marriage" leads to alcoholism? What if they made a stupid decision when they were young and Mr. or Mrs. Right is out there to improve both of their lives (and the kids)? Perhaps the real issue is not forcing people to stay married...and the actual issue is how easy it is to get married in the first place (OR) the reasons some get married - public pressure, tax benefits, etc.

Let's take a step back and get to the heart of issue before things get out of hand and let's stop legislators from trying to "put a band-aid" on someone who needs a heart transplant.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Confession Time

I once had a fun argument with my friend Tyler about who was the better actor, Jeff Bridges or Tom Hanks.

Naturally, I went with all-time great Mr. Hanks. The Gump himself.

The biggest counter-argument came from when Tyler said Bridges wins based solely on his role in The Big Lebowski. I told him he was wrong. I based my judgement on him being wrong on that I had seen the movie...Turns out, I hadn't.

Why am I writing this? Because it's 11:35pm and The Big Lebowski just came on TV - and I feel like clearing my conscience.

This movie, so far, is pretty awesome. I mean this cast can almost not be beaten.

Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, John Turtorro, Philip Seymore Hoffman and Sam Elliott. Wow.

I don't think The Dude wins the argument, but at least now I can say that I know for sure.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Returning to the "Get Off Your Ass and Get Into Shape Club!"

I am pleased to announce my triumphant return to the "Get Off Your Ass and Get Into Shape Club!"

It has been a 2-year hiatus, but now after 5 recent visits to the tennis courts (3 of which I lost to the old man) and being set for a run tomorrow morning with Marek downtown...yes, I said the words "RUN" and "MORNING" - two words you won't often find me using with any sort of positive attitude - I am ready to take on the world. 

So, wish me luck as I attempt to turn this tubby 173 pound body into a 163-pound dominating clothes-fitting square jaw double-chinless carb-burning machine. Those at Shape Your Future would be proud.

Bring it on.