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PCR #116 (Vol. 3, No. 24) This edition is for the week of June 10--16, 2002.

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"I think it's time I ask you something......"
A play-by-play on a surprise marriage proposal that almost wasn't

What went right...
You're first on the list of those that I WISH coulda' been there. (Thank you. Me, too.--N)  I finally went ahead and did it, with the lion's share of Kris's friends looking on, and Eric taking pictures. We were at that "Howl at the Moon" dueling piano bar that I told you about earlier.

I got up on stage and asked Kristin to marry me, complete with a ring and flowers. It was kept an absolute secret from her until I sprang the question, and it literally floored her.

It was great, a couple hundred people stood and cheered, and apparently a whole shitload of chicks were crying. I got about a million thumps on the back from the guys, and pecks on the cheek from the gals. I even had one of Kristin's friends in tears (she told me that if Kristin and I didn't work out, she wanted me next. She didn't really seem to be kidding, and her boyfriend was looking on, a bit injured---it was pretty funny in a way).

Secrecy, close-calls, near misses, brushes with catastrophe...
Planning for this was my signature seat-of-the-pants stuff: Although I had decided I was going to propose at "Howl at the Moon" a month's earlier (the last time we went there), and even had a date set up, the details were forgotten until this past week. Well, truth to tell, some details were "always in motion and difficult to see" originally, I was going to give her her old engagement ring, along with a promise that there would be a better one later, once she selected it, and we had the money available for it.

Then, when I figured out a way to get her a ring last Wednesday, I went for it, knowing that even if I selected a bad ring, it would still be something she cherished. That was essentially my biggest fear about the ring. I had to get the ring resized too, which definately scared me because it takes a few days to do that. I called to verify that I was going to pick it up Friday evening, and the lady goes: "Well.. it's not here yet Mr. Scott, please call back at 6:00, and I'll know if it'll be ready before Monday, or not.." I just about flew through the phone at her: "If that fuckin' ring ain't ready tonight, I'm cancelling the deal, firebombing your place of business, and you won't have a job to return to on Monday!! This is my engagement ring, and being ready today was a condition of sale!! I'm getting engaged tomorrow, you little TWIT!" (I wasn't thinking about the whole 9-11 thing, but a part of me suddenly wondered: 'hmm.. if something DOES happen to the store this weekend, they'll be getting my driver's license number out of the file.) The lady was, of course, a bit startled, but she actually laughed a bit, and reassured me that since it was an engagement ring, and since they'd promised it would be ready in time, it had been marked as a rush order, and that she didn't actually have the paperwork in front of her earlier. She verified my home phonenumber, but I said she'd better not call it! I told her I'd be there about 5:30 looking for either the ring, or a discussion with an informed person that would tell me, with certainty, it'll be there on Saturday. I guess she's used to this kind of treatment, she chuckled again, and assured me that there wouldn't be a problem.

I picked up Jordan from school and went straight over there. Luckily, the ring was ready, I looked it over, and again wondered if I'd made a good selection.

(((Side Note: Kris won't lie to me, I managed to get past her "misleading" answers and bluntly ask her: "so, if the ring wasn't special for other reasons, would it still be one you thought was really pretty?'" She hesitated, and I knew I'd busted her. We just laughed about it.)))

The flowers were always in the plan, though I only expected to be able to do a dozen roses, and have them delivered directly to the bar, after working out some kind of deal with the bar to get the flowers onto the piano. I didn't know where I was getting them from, I just wanted some of those "bubble-head" roses I'd gotten for her a couple of Valentine's days ago. No luck finding a distributor for those roses but fortunately, I found a flower company that would send 24 roses for a comparitively low price. Unfortunately, they were shipping it Fed-Ex, and the bar wasn't open until 6:00PM Wednesday-Saturday. As a result, I had to send the flowers to someone else that was going. So, I got the name of one of Kris's co-workers that Kris had said was going. I called her work and asked to be routed to his extension. Luckily, it turns out that I'm doing some web design stuff for him and his wife, and he was glad to help out. Kris is his boss, and was actually within several feet of his desk while he gave me his delivery address, but she never found out.

On the day of the event, Mark was supposed to receive the flowers, and then take them to the club at least 15 minutes before Kris and I arrived. However, the last time we had spoken was Friday, and he had said he'd be there at 7:30PM. So, Saturday rolls around, and I don't know if the flowers have arrived, or not, and I'm fretting about it, and trying to sneak out of the house to go call him. Then Kris wanders into the room at one point and announces that we're going to try to get to the bar at 7:00 (a half hour earlier than Mark!).

Oh crap.. So at 5:30 I finally managed to get out of the house by dropping off Jordan at his grandmother's house to stay the night. I got money out of the ATM because I had absolutely NO money on me, and had to buy a candybar to get change so I could call Mark (the flower guy) from a payphone. Mark wasn't answering his cell phone.

So I called Tiffany, a friend of Kristin's that was going to ride with us to the bar (I don't drink, so as the permanent designated driver.. our car is ALWAYS full). I had told her about the proposal quite awhile ago, because I knew I'd need someone to help me out with detail handling, and she's MORE than trustworthy. She wasn't home either, so I left a message: "Tiff, Mark is delivering the flowers at 7:30. I can't reach him, and need you to keep calling him to tell him to get the flowers there earlier. Here's his number; blah, blah, blah. If you can't reach him, I need you to come up with a reason to delay Kris. I've got Eric delaying her, and I'll do what I can too, but I don't want her in a sour mood, so I have to be careful. If you can't get ahold of Mark, we need to delay her by one hour." Unfortunately, although I'd called Tiffany at this number before, I'd NEVER gotten ahold of her thru it, and never gotten a call-back (that I'm aware of). SO I wasn't even entirely sure that she'd get it.. I still don't know if it's her cell phone or not.

Then I dropped off Jordan at his grandmother's house and used their phone to leave a similar message on Mark's machine. I was totally stressing out, but playing it cool. I went home, and knowing that Kris wanted Eric to get to our house by 6:30 at the latest, I told him to get there at 7:00. I figured I'd play "the absent-minded professor" if I had too, to keep things smooth with Kris. (ie.- "Why isn't he here? oh.. I thought you wanted him here at 7?")

Then, about 6:30 Kris was saying she was ready to go, and I used a different tact and said, "Huh! that's odd, Eric should be here by now?!" This kind of thing was repeated several times until 6:50 at which point I said, "oh crap hon, I'm such a dumbass! I think I told Eric to be here at 7!" So I called him up, but no answer. Then Tiffany called Kris's cellphone and said that they were running late and wouldn't be ready for awhile.

So I was left wondering.. ok.. so did she get my message? or is she really just running late? Does she know if Mark took the flowers, does she know if the flowers ever arrived? But there was no way to ask her.

Eric arrived, and we left immediately, our ETA at the club was about 7:45, which I figured would be enough time, but of course, I had no way to talk to Tiffany without Kris discovering a plot, so I just had to act cool, and be patient. When I got out of the car at the club, I still didn't know if the flowers were gonna' be there.

I went and sat at our table, and although I saw flowers on the piano, I couldn't tell if they were mine, or just decoration. Everything I did, from that point forward, was handled secret agent style. It was loud in there, so as I gestured towards the performers, and laughed, I whispered questions to Eric.. he'd wait about 5 minutes and whisper to Tiffany, and then get back to me with an answer a little while after that. It took almost 30 minutes to determine that those were indeed, the flowers.

Unfortunately, the my seating position put me too close, and IN FRONT OF Kristin, so there was nothing I could do unobserved. I couldn't figure out how to write the instructions for the announcer and giving him money, without Kris getting suspicious. My intial plan was to get Kris onstage, and get them to actually start harassing her with folk songs, and THEN come out, but I didn't know how to phrase it out for them to understand what I was doing. So plan #2 was to get them to do her favorite song before making the announcement, but I couldn't think of an appropriate song because I'm simply not familiar with that kind of music.

Eventually, I told Eric to tell Tiffany to go outside and meet me at the front door of the club in a few minutes. I leaned over and yelled to Kristin that I was going outside for some fresh air. I got up and waited, sure enough, here came Tiffany, and I choreographed the rest of it with her. I decided not to do the whole music thing though, because I wanted it to happen soon.. I didn't want to give my stagefright any more "notice" than I had to.. I needed to do it fast. (I've inheirited a mild anxiety disorder from my mom, and although it isn't bad enough to require treatment, or even enough to really stop me from doing stuff, my stagefright can be a bit overwhelming, especially since I was stressed by the situation to begin with.)

The actual dialogue that I had the guy read was made up on the spot, and written about 5 mintues before his delivery. I couldn't write it because my hands were shaking pretty badly by that point, so Tiffany wrote while I dictated. Then she gave the note to our server, and she handled the rest. In retrospect, another reason I'm glad Tiffany wrote the note was that I would have forgotten to put Kristin's last name on the announcement (I KNOW I forgot it when I dictated it to her). When the guy started his dialogue, I suddenly just about had a coronary when I realized how many Kristins were probably in the room. I'd already met 3 of them!

Luckily, Tiffy ain't no dumbass, and had included Kristin's last name.

Will you...?The Big Moment...
So, here it comes: I had one of the pianists call Kristin up to the stage between songs, saying: "Ok, now someone's paid good money to have Kristin Wilgus come up here and get harrassed, so come on up here Kristin!" Kristin was laughing, and was like, "Oh great, what have you folks gotten me into?" (This wasn't unusual for this bar, they do requests like that all the time.)

Like the good sport that she is, she got up there and stood there while he continued reading aloud my little script:"... You are in the unique position of being the subject of a question that's burning into everyone's mind, even though very few realize it at the moment... However, there's only one guy here that's got any right to ask it..."

That was my cue to get on stage next to her, while she laughed and looked around nervously. It was kinda' funny, she had this confused look on her face that clearly said: "What are YOU doing up here, they're getting ready to harrass me?"

When I got up there, I was handed a microphone, and moving to the piano she was standing at, I picked up a vase of two-dozen roses that I'd had someone place there for me, before Kris and I had even arrived at the bar, and said, "Well, first... these are for you.." Her jaw dropped as she started getting an inkling of where this was headed. Her first coherent thought (I found later), was: "How the hell did he get me flowers without me seeing it on our bank statement?" Followed shortly by, "How the hell did he get them onto the piano? Those were there when we arrived!"

Then I said into the microphone (and her eyes), "I've been living with you for two years now, and I love you, and your son, very much. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you, and thought perhaps it was time to.." and produced a ring box.

She immediately fell to her knees as the crowd went nuts! She had figured out that this must be a proposal, but had assumed that there couldn't possibly be a ring involved because she's in charge of all of our finances. The rest of my prepared speech went out the window, the cheers were deafening, and you couldn't hear the speakers anymore. I paused for a bit, as I helped her up, and the crowd quieted enough to be heard again, so I asked, "May I have your finger please?"

Kristin falls!
As Mike proposes, Kristin falls with excitement, just as this picture was snapped. The blurry "ghost" next to Mike is Kristin.
She presented it, and as I slid it on her finger, I joked, "Well I'm hoping that this means I'm getting some tonight." (I kid you not, there were two notably horrified gasps---in retrospect I'd've taken back the "gettin some" remark. But, we were suddenly drowned out by the crowd's screaming, cheering, and clapping). I went to one knee, and asked, "Kristin? Will..?" And was immediately drowned out again.

She fell back to her knees and hugged me crying "Yes, yes,yes". Then we said we loved each other, and the crushed microphone picked it up, and the crowd went nuts again as we kissed.

It wasn't until we got back to our seats that I suddenly realized I hadn't actually asked the question. I pointed that out to Eric, claiming that I try to leave little loopholes like that, and then joked about it with her.

She was busy reading the card included with the flowers: "Kristin, I sure hope you say yes. I figure it's about time I made an honest woman of you. Las Vegas here we come! Love, Michael SCOTT (private joke: her ex-boyfriend's name was also Michael)" The Las Vegas part alludes to the fact that we'd previously discussed getting married in Vegas at one of those Elvis chapels. I told her the loophole joke, but it fell on deaf ears as she looked at me with tears in her eyes.

So, I officially asked her, she said yes, and it was all over, except the congratulations, the kissing and the thumping and I got to hear everyone's take on my handiwork.

Ok, so it was sappy... But I still wish you coulda' been there. (Sigh...me, too.---N)

This whole thing would have been dead in the water if Kris and I didn't have such high quality friends; Mark, Barbara, Tiffany, and Eric. Tiffany kept the secret the longest; I think I told her I was doing it at Howl at the Moon just over a month ago because I wanted to know if she thought it was a good idea or not. As Kristin's best friend, I later wondered at my judgement on that point, but she didn't let me down, despite what must have been INCREDIBLE temptation, and I'm grateful for it.

Mark's part might seem small, but for me, it was a cornerstone of the whole thing, because my initial plan had called for those flowers, and I would have gone nuts (or rather, been in even WORSE shape) if they hadn't been there. I figured that even if my dialogue didn't go well, or if my stagefright was bad enough to make me useless up there, she'd still love the flowers.

I had wanted Eric to go to see me propose, but I never got an answer from him until the Saturday. Otherwise, I'd have had the flowers sent to him, and he'd have taken care of it for me. However, it's a REAL good thing it didn't happen that way.

Stupid me was so concerned about the flowers that I didn't even spare a thought as to their presentation. I assumed that they would arrive nicely wrapped in tissue-paper, in such a way that I could just hand them to Kris. Nope, they came all shoved together in a box.

Barbara, (Mark's wife) was on the ball, and without even commenting to me, she went out and picked up a really nice vase for them. She even clipped the ends of the flower stems and got them in water and everything. If Eric had gotten the flowers, that wouldn't have happened. To Eric's credit, he probably would have figured out a way to set them up, but he'd have told me, and I'd have hemmed and hawed, trying to determine what to do, aside from wrapping them in tissue-paper. I just didn't have any money left to get a vase, or even tissue paper and I wouldn't have wanted to impose upon him to pay for one, so I probably would have ended-up handing them to her in a rolled-up newspaper or something.

I'm going to pay her back for the vase, whatever it cost, but at least I don't have to be secretive about it. I'll ask Mark later, what I owe them, though he and Barbara are probably going to wave me off, so I'll guesstimate the cost and get Kris to hide it on him or something. It's only right, the vase was an important oversight on my part.

Eric was da' man for handling communications at the club, and for keeping me calmed down on the way there. He drove his truck too, so I caught a ride with him while Kris drove her friends in my car. While driving over there, I was partially convinced that Tiffany had spilled the beans to Kristin, and he helped keep me sane until I could work it out, and determnine that she hadn't said anything to her after all. He also took some great photographs for me. However, first and foremost, he hates the kind of music that was being played at the club, and was really just going for my benefit. He was the support I needed, and it was also nice to have conversations with another non-drinker at the club.

It turns out that the 2 dozen roses arrived at Mark's house with one rose missing. His wife, Barbara, refused to let me give Kris 23 roses, so not only did she get a vase for them, she ALSO went out and bought an additional rose to add to the bouquet!

And that's all of the behind-the-scenes stuff. You're welcome to grab any, or all of it for public consumption. (Yeah, I'm a real opportunistic bastard like that. LOL--Thanks.---N) Thanks for asking about it because I wanted to get it all written down anyways... Although, your question WAS "how long did you plan it".. hmm.. oh well.. hope this email answered that somehwere... :)

Oh! and thanks for your back thump. (In an earlier email response I wrote, "consider me one of your back-thumpers, post-facto!"---Nolan) I've gotta' say that I've never sufferred congratulatory bruising before, but my shoulderblade is still a bit tender. :)

I think I speak for everyone here at Nolan's Pop Culture Review when I say "Congratulations to Mike and Kristin on your wedding engagement!" I'll miss the Las Vegas ceremony, obviously, but can you hold the reception back here? I'll be in charge of the food line!---Love, Nolan

"Deadguy's Dementia" is ©2002 by Mike "Deadguy" Scott.  Webpage design by Nolan B. Canova.  The "Deadguy's Dementia" header graphic and background tile are creations of Mike Scott.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova.