Back on April 15, 2000, Judy and I went out on our first date. Today thus marks not only our anniversary, but also our 8 year anniversary. The number 8 is considered lucky in Chinese culture, and while neither of us are really superstitious, we both felt compelled to have a special celebration for our “lucky-8″ year anniversary.
Of course, “special celebration” can mean different things to different people. Our admittedly lackluster modus operandi for our last several anniversaries has been to make a reservation and then cancel it at the last moment because we (well, Judy) wouldn’t feel like dressing up and going out. So for the “special celebration” of our lucky-8 year anniversary, we decided simply to make a dinner reservation and then actually keep it. Do we know how to celebrate or what?
8 year anniversaries don’t come around very often (well, only once if they occur at all), and while not canceling a dinner reservation is arguably an effective way of making such an occasion memorable, I felt that our 8 year anniversary could use, well, a little something more.
I’ve actually been thinking about proposing to Judy for some time now and this anniversary seemed like it would be the perfect time to do it. Undoubtedly the question many reading this will be asking is, “What the heck took so long?” or “8 fricking years?!” Indeed, we’ve been asked that on more than one occasion by family and friends, sometimes subtly, sometimes not so subtly.
So what was the big hang up? Did I have doubts that Judy was “The One”? Did I have a fear of commitment? Did I dislike Latte Dog who was, for better or worse, part of the package? The answers, of course, are “no”, “no”, and “no”. The reality is that for most of my adult life, I have not placed much value on the institution of marriage. I’ve felt that for the most part, marriage is one of those things that society says you’re supposed to do rather than being something that has any real value. Take a look at Wikipedia’s definition of marriage:
Marriage or wedlock is an institution in which interpersonal relationships (usually intimate and sexual) are sanctioned with governmental, social, or religious recognition.
Well, neither of us are religious (understatement of the year in my case ) and neither of us see a need for our relationship to be “sanctioned” or recognized by the government or any social group or organization. If two people love each other and are in a committed, long-term relationship, why isn’t that enough? Why does any one or any thing have to sanction it?
We’ve had discussions about this, and both didn’t feel that marriage would change anything in our relationship or our commitment to each other. Nevertheless, I knew that a part of Judy would be happy to get married. The reason was not because she wanted a big, extravagant wedding (a colossal waste of money in our opinion; we’d much rather spend that money on a killer honeymoon) or that she wanted to get dressed up in a fancy dress (recall the way we celebrated our last several anniversaries). Marriage really was just a way to symbolize our commitment to each other. Judy would half-jokingly bug me every now and then wanting me to sign a contract stipulating that I wouldn’t leave her if she “let herself go” in her old age.
So from that standpoint, yes, I do see some value in marriage. There’s also the fact that in this society, certain things, such as buying a house together, are just easier as a married couple. While we won’t be buying anytime soon (I’m content to sit back and watch the carnage as the housing bubble implodes), we do intend to buy at some point in the not too distant future.
Taking the marriage step felt like the right thing to do, and I decided a few months ago that I’d take advantage of our 8-year anniversary and propose on that date. I entertained the notion of a more elaborate, orchestrated proposal, but I couldn’t come up with anything good, and more importantly, I decided that something like that just simply wasn’t “us”. A lower key, more personal approach would be the way to go.
Obviously, I’d be playing a role, but the question was whether or not to have an accomplice. Latte is such an important part of our life (she’s basically our kid) that I felt it was imperative that she play a part in the proposal. The basic plan was to go out to dinner that night (make a reservation and not cancel it) and upon our return, have Latte present Judy with a special note. I won’t get into details of the note (personal!), but it was basically the aforementioned “contract”, signed by Latte and myself. You’d be surprised at how hard it is to get a good paw print. I had to go through several iterations to get a decent signature from that cocker spaniel.
After she read the contract, I’d present her with the ring. Oh, and of course it wasn’t going to be a diamond ring. As some may recall, I’m not that fond of diamonds. My diamond reservations aside, after shopping around for rings, I came to the conclusion that I actually don’t find diamonds all that pretty anyway.
Judy’s birthstone is sapphire which is very fortunate (or is it fate?) because my favorite color is blue, and of all the gemstones out there, I find sapphires to be the prettiest. I especially like how sapphires can, depending on lighting conditions, exhibit so many different shades of blue. I really think they’re beautiful! I ended up getting the ring through Diamonds of Palo Alto, a local jeweler highly recommended on Yelp (thanks Ruth!). I was really happy with my selection and was certain Judy would love it. I’m not into jewelry at all, but I’ve got to say that this jewel is one mighty fine lookin’ stone!
I didn’t know Judy’s ring size and there was really no way to find out since she never wears rings. I therefore just went with the standard Tiffany setting with the expectation that we’d get it properly fitted afterwards.
The plan was simple, but even simple plans can go awry. Judy’s dad, who lives in Taiwan, returns to the States annually this time of year to take care of his taxes. This year, as luck would have it, he tells Judy on Monday night that he’s leaving for the airport to head back to Taiwan the next evening (the night of our anniversary). Of course, he wanted to see us before leaving so why not have dinner together before Judy takes him to the airport?
I couldn’t object because that would have alerted Judy that something was afoot. While it wasn’t quite what I had planned, it really ended up being not that big of a deal. We had dinner with Judy’s dad and then I went home while Judy took her dad to the airport. Judy actually wanted me to accompany them to the airport, but I had to prep Latte so I told her I was tired and wanted to head home. The funny thing, which Judy told me later, is that her dad kept grilling her about getting married all the way to the airport. LOL!
When Judy came back, I got Latte ready while Judy was in the bathroom. I rolled the note up and tied it with a red bow around Latte’s neck (kind of like a mini St. Bernard – she looked really cute!). Unfortunately, Latte didn’t quite cooperate and pretty much forgot everything we had practiced beforehand. She was supposed to present the note by walking to Judy in a calm and docile manner. Instead, she started galloping around while making her characteristic grunting and snorting noises. And rather than bring the note to Judy, she galloped into the kitchen, shoved her snout into her bowl, and promptly started crunching on Pedigree. The delivery of the note wasn’t quite to expectations. Cute and amusing? Yes. Romantic? Uh, probably not.
After finally calming down, Latte finally let Judy remove the note and read it. The long-awaited contract was a surprise to Judy and she was quite happy to have it. The follow-on was completely unexpected and, suffice to say, she was quite elated. She later said that she would have been totally happy just to get the contract so to receive the contract and a ring? Now that’s an anniversary to remember!
So that’s our little story. Of course, this wouldn’t be a real RohJuh story if there weren’t some pictures. I wanted pictures of both Latte and the ring, but both proved hard to take good photos of. Latte wouldn’t stay still or refused to look at the camera, and although a ring doesn’t have those issues, I found that it’s quite difficult to really capture a sapphire’s brilliance and dazzle with a photo. I tried a bunch of different settings and posted the better ones in the Gallery. Anyhow, here are the pics.