New Years Eve in Calgary

It’s an interesting start to the year, to say the least.

Alex and I spent the holidays partly apart. As such, we ended up having Christmas Eve on New Year’s Eve. To make it interesting (as if being together wasn’t interesting enough), Alex pulled a scavenger hunt on me, sending me around her condo trying to find the various presents she’d stashed. Each had a clue to the following present. I can amount it either to my extreme intellect [insert derisive laughter here] or to the obviousness of the clues [Alex knows her audience, to say the least], I managed to find them all without being stumped.

The let down wasn’t in the presents, but in the crappy countdowns. We just couldn’t get interested in them, and it’s really lame to be watching the Times Square countdown when it happened two hours earlier. And out here, it’s -41C with the windchill, so going outside really isn’t an option for us.

That’s probably why we slept in on New Year’s Day. I forced Alex to stay in bed while I made breakfast. But I couldn’t keep her in bed forever, especially when there’s a 20x rewards sale on at Shoppers Drug Mart. It was a 10-block walk in -21 degree weather (not counting the wind chill). Warming up actually hurt. But for 20x points, I’m sure Alex would go through pretty much anything. The hot chocolate at Second Cup made the walk back considerably easier.

The big things that happened over the holidays: Wedding planning. And yes, that also means something else obvious: Engagement. (Yes, I know you saw it coming.) This time, I know it’s right.

The funny part is, we started planning for a wedding before we were even actually engaged. We goofed around with a huge number of ideas, including theming it ala Monty Python. We were going to recreate parts of Monty Python and the Holy Grail to keep it interesting and humourous. Whether or not we stick to this come August remains to be seen, of course. Funny as it is, I have my doubts that we’ll actually do it.

A stop at Michael’s over in Westhills supplied paper, ribbon, and various crafts to make invitations. Alex is far more craft-oriented than I am, and wants to make the invitations. (I’d just as soon whip them up on a computer and have them mass produced.) We started working on prototypes at Alex’s later in the afternoon.

This is when the Big Event happened. When I was back home, I picked up the engagement ring. It was Mom’s, and my grandmother’s before that. It’s a Sowrey heirloom now, and something I wanted to pass to Alex. A bit of a risk, mind you, since Alex had certain expectations in mind for what she wanted, and I was about to deliver something she hadn’t previously considered.

As I was tying a ribbon into one of the prototypes, the idea hit me. I had the ring in my pocket. While not the most romantic place to conduct this, it was private (which I was sure Alex would prefer) and related directly to what we were doing. A snap decision, in other words. Tying it in was difficult, but when it was finally attached, I held the card up to show her, and said:

What do you think?

She was a little stunned, mostly because I think at first she didn’t really see the ring, and then had to contemplate how the heck I’d gotten a ring without her knowing, followed by having to accept that she was getting it without expectation and that it was decidedly different than she had wanted.

I had wanted to do this for her birthday later in the month, when we go to Costa Rica. But Alex told me two things: 1) she wanted to tell her friends at a Stitch ‘n Bitch before we left, and that 2) she liked her birthdays to be special and without complication. In other words, she didn’t want to get engaged on the same day. How’s that for putting a wrench in plans?

When Alex finally realized what it was, I looked at her and said:

Only one catch: It comes with me.

Yeah, that’s me, Mr. Romantic…

We ate dinner together and celebrated with wine. But I had to go home afterwards to prepare for the next evolution in my job. I’m down a strong developer and need to backfill, and Cory’s shift to client services means I’m now the Web Development Practice Lead.

It’s going to be an interesting year…