The engagement

Monday started out like most days Heather is in Jackson overnight: at the Anderson’s house. But it ended unlike any other, with me feeling like the most blessed man on earth. Because Monday was the day Heather said “Yes” when I asked her to marry me! You know what that calls for? A big ol’ WOOT!

But most of you knew that already. So, I’ll do a quick run-down of what you don’t know: my little plan-o-action to surprise her.

On Sunday, I had told Heather that I had a few little surprise “fall events” planned for Monday that would probably require warm clothing. I think I did a decent job of making them appear innocent enough that she didn’t suspect anything was up. But I guess she’d have to be the one to tell you that for sure.

First on the list was the playground at Ella Sharp Park. Many of you probably don’t know this, but Heather loves to swing on swing sets. It was one of the things I found most odd about her MySpace profile when we were first getting to know each other. But now that I do know her, and understand her taste for life’s simple pleasures, it makes complete sense. And I’ve quite enjoyed learning to appreciate more simple things such as swinging–thus me buying a kite and flying it with her a few weeks ago.

Anyway, we swung on swings. And it worked out great because it had rained off and on all morning, but not when we were swinging. It was sunny, in fact, and at one point we were sure we were going to see a rainbow.

Being at the swings perfectly set up item two on the list, which was the Hurst Planetarium. It’s right across the road from the playground. While walking over there, I explained to Heather that I had arranged a private show for us in the planetarium. To my delight, she found that idea really exciting. She’d never experienced a planetarium show before. I thought she’d maybe find it a bit nerdy, so I was pleased with her response.

After thinking we were locked out, Mark, the planetarium director and a Jackson Public School astronomy teacher, let us in. We chatted a bit, he explained what the show was going to be about, and we took our seats. For about 10 minutes, we enjoyed the sights and sounds cast above and around us on the domed ceiling and then Mark had to cut out to take a phone call. He apologized, but explained that he was a single dad and his son was calling. To hold us over, he turned on some dim lights and played some soft music.

Enter here Joel’s special “To Get Engaged To” mix cd.

A minute or so into the first song, Heather recognized the artist, asked me to verify and was curious why he chose the music he did. I then, somewhat awkwardly I feel, initiated us moving from our seats to the front of the planetarium where there was a little light. And it was there that I let Heather know that I didn’t bring her to the planetarium so that we could watch a program about the stars. I brought her there to ask her an important question. 🙂

So, at 2:30 in the afternoon, under a star-lit ceiling, we got engaged!

But, that wasn’t the end of my list. Next up was the giant leaf pile I made for her at another spot in Ella Sharp. Heather had said a few times this fall how she’d like to jump in a huge pile of leaves. So, I got up early Monday morning before she was awake and made her one–to the curiosity of several park visitors. But having rained over night, the leaves were quite wet. I figured she wouldn’t be interested, but I made it anyway and packed some special clothes to cover us in should she want to go for a dive.

It was, indeed, one of those, “It’s the thought that counts” moments. She loved the pile, but passed on the experience.

Next on the list was my apartment. I let Heather in, where she was greeted by a dozen roses. And while she was sitting on the couch enjoying them, I came back from my bedroom guitar in-hand. That really got a gleeful reaction from her! I’m not very skilled with the instrument, and I messed up several times, but I was willing to look a fool to delight her heart. And so, for the first time ever in front of someone, I sang a song while playing my guitar. And I’m glad to say that “someone” was Heather, my soon-to-be wife.

To wrap up the great day, we drove to the Ann Arbor Chop House and enjoyed some fine dining and amazing steak.

So, that’s it! Our engagement story from my perspective. There’s lots more I could tell, but I need to be getting to work.

P.S. for Heather: I love you 🙂

Joel Maust

Joel Maust is a blogger, marketer and photographer living in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana.