Our engagement weekend.
How Mike Proposed to Jessica
I had been planning to ask Jessica to marry me sometime in the summer of 2010 and my Mom offered to give my grandmother's engagement ring to me. The ring is a beautiful white gold piece, with a Tiffany setting. My grandfather somehow managed to save enough to buy the ring on a milkman's wages.
When the ring arrived in Florida (after a stressful one day delay during which the UPS tracking system could not locate the package), I started to become very anxious to give the ring to Jessica, and decided to pop the question much sooner.
To celebrate Jessica's birthday in February, I was planning on taking her for a romantic weekend get-away to Sanibel Island, off the west coast of Florida. Sanibel is about a three to four hour drive from Fort Lauderdale, where we lived at the time. After work on Friday evening, we quickly started the drive over Alligator Alley. We had a very tight schedule, as I was hoping to take Jessica for a birthday dinner to a really great Italian restaurant in Sanibel. However, like most of Sanibel Island, the restaurant closes at 9:30 pm, and stops seating customers at 9 pm.
Though I was keeping up with the flow of traffic, as soon as we entered Collier County after crossing Alligator Alley, we were pulled over by a Collier County Sheriff. Apparently in Collier County, the Sheriff's department strictly enforces window tint levels, which was quite a shock to me, as it seems that the majority of vehicles in Miami and Fort Lauderdale have windows with a tint level which is technically illegal. At the time my car had very dark windows (apparently so dark that the officer was able to tell they were too dark on the dimly lit highway at 70 miles per hour).
As soon as I saw the lights, I knew that my plan had encountered a serious problem. Not only would fifteen minutes cause us to arrive in Sanibel after 9 pm, but I had also locked the ring box in my glove compartment, along with my registration and insurance card. I chose to lock the ring in the glove compartment for two reason: (1) it seemed like the safest spot in the car, and (2) because I intended to hold my car keys at all times in Sanibel and with the glove compartment was locked, I wouldn't need to worry about Jessica seeing the ring box when we unloaded the car.
Because we were on a highway, the officer approached my car from the passenger's side. I had not prepared my paper work because I was hoping for a miraculous occurrence which would negate the need to open the glove compartment. No such luck. When the officer asked for my paper work, I tried to distract him and Jessica by asking him if he was having a good shift while I quickly (really, really quickly) opened the glove compartment., grabbed my paper work, and shut and locked the glove compartment.
My cat-like quickness made an impression on the officer and he immediately ordered me to step out of the car. The officer walked me to the hood of his car, about 50 feet behind my car. He instructed me to wait by his car. He then returned to my car and started asking Jessica some questions.
I was perplexed, and was watching the two intently, when Jessica, to my shock and horror, reached for my keys and opened the glove compartment. I began moving towards my car while screaming at the officer that he needed to shut the glove compartment and come talk to me. With his hand on his holstered gun, the officer commanded me to return to the police car and wait there. He then called for back-up.
The officer told Jessica to reach into the glove compartment and remove a folded piece of paper and she complied. He then inspected the paper and allowed Jessica to return it to the glove compartment and shut the compartment.
At this point I was very agitated and gave the officer of piece of my mind when he came to tell me that he thought he saw drugs in the glove compartment when I opened and closed it so quickly. When I informed the officer what was actually in the glove compartment, he decided not to give me a ticket for the dark tint and wished me luck with the engagement.
Back on the road, however, I was fuming. I was upset with the situation, with the cops and with Jessica for complying with the officer's instructions. To my dismay, Jessica was giddily giggling and I assumed that the surprise was ruined. I was about to pull off the highway and propose to Jessica in the car. As I was looking for an exit from the highway, I ran through what happened with Jessica and asked her a few questions.
Jessica was scared by the officer when he pulled us over and was nervous when he asked her to open the glove compartment. With amazing tunnel vision, she reached into the glove compartment and removed the sheet of paper that he requested. I was able to ascertain that she somehow did not see the ring box!!
We ended up missing the seating deadline at the restaurant but were able to get some takeout. The next morning was unseasonably cold and we prepared to go for a walk on the beach by putting on light jackets. I decided not to waste anymore time (or tempt fate any longer) and reached into my jacket pocket (where I had surreptitiously placed the ring box the night before). Ever the romantic, I said to Jessica, "Look what I forgot to give to Wellington (our dog) before we left." She appeared surprised and said, "You have to actually ask me," which I did. Jessica said yes, and here we are!