Monday, January 14, 2008

The Engagement

I now have a fiance! It is true! And Clay now has a fiancee!

The fact that Clay moved up here to be with me in Washington in September seemed to tip off 95% of our close friends and families off that something serious was going on...but it didn't become official until December 27th, 2007.

Clay and I were in Texas in the midst of a hectic week. We'd been in North Carolina for my brother's wedding, driven back to Ohio to celebrate Christmas with my family, flown to San Antonio to celebrate Christmas with Clay's family, and were preparing for Clay's sister's wedding. For our second evening in Texas, Clay said, "Let's get away and have a date night." He had no problem convincing me!

"Where do you want to go?" I asked.

He replied, "How about Austin." Oooh this guy knows the key to my heart. Austin is where Clay and I met at the National Youth Worker's Convention in Fall 2006. We hadn't return to Austin since our initial meeting, but it's only a 90-minute or so drive from his parents' home in San Antonio. I was eager to take a sentimental journey of all the places we'd hung out on that first meeting.

So we hopped in the car and drove into downtown Austin on Cesar Chavez Drive. We headed straight to Waterloo Records and Book People, fantastic independent stores we'd spent hours in during Quasi-Date #2. When it was time for dinner, I again asked, "Where do you want to go?"

Clay responded, "Let's go to Threadgill's." Again, he knows the keys to my heart. I agreed, and we went to eat dinner at the restaurant/concert venue that sparked our first meeting of Not-Really-Even-A-Quasi-Date #1. We enjoyed a very home-cooked vegetable platter. And afterwards, we wanted to walk out to the Congress Street Bridge (aka the Bat Bridge)...which is where we officially first met, on our way to the Eliza Gilkyson concert at Threadgill's.

So--we walked out to the bridge, excited to be at "the spot" where we met. As we neared the middle of the bridge, we picked a spot next to a pole that had a Christmasy/guitar-type decoration attached to it. We're obviously not confident that this was "the spot." But it seemed as good as any other spot on the bridge. At this point, I was just ahead of Clay. I turned around to hug him, but he was already down on one knee. He said some nice things that neither of us really remember and pulled a ring out of his man-bag. I'm confident that at some point in there, he said he wanted to marry me, and I responded with, "Yes, I would love to marry you."

And there it was. He slipped the ring on my finger, and we went from being non-engaged to engaged.

We continued our walk on the bridge and had a celebratory dessert at TGI Friday's, which we had also originally visited during Quasi-Date #2. What amazed me was that when one goes from being non-engaged to engaged, the world does not actually stop turning on its axis, a corps of singer/dancers does not emerge to throw confetti into the air, and millions of doves do not fly in front of you, foreshadowing a spectacular fireworks display. It was all very normal. For the rest of the world, they wouldn't have really known that our lives were changing in that moment.

So now, Clay and I are engaged. We're getting married in Ohio on August 2, 2008, a mere 6 1/2 months from today. I looked the definition of engagement up on Wikipedia and discovered that engagements began so that people could have time to figure out if there were any "legitimate impediments" to this marriage. So, if you know of any of those, you're evidently supposed to let us know.

Thanks for journeying with us, and we'd appreciate your prayers over these next 7 months!

P.S. For those of you who wish to know if I was surprised, I will say, "Moderately so." Clay and I had already looked at rings, but I had no reason to suspect he'd have a ring by Christmas. He hadn't done much to tip me off during our date to Austin, mostly because he was so nonchalant all day. The only thing that tipped me off was his Jack Bauer man-bag, which he rarely carries unless we're going someplace to sit and read. I figured the only reason he'd have the man-bag was if he was carrying something special in it...which turned out to be true. I was still pretty surprised when he pulled out a ring, and so glad that Clay knows me well enough to know exactly how I'd hoped he'd propose.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Top 2's of 2008

Top Two Gifts I Got for Christmas:

Top Two Weddings I Participated in This Christmas:
  • Sean and Rachael Baker's (My brother and new sister-in-law)
  • Brendan and Erin (Utley) Voss' (My sister-in-law and brother-in-law to be!)

Top Two Cups of Coffee I Had Over Christmas:
  • The First Americano I got at The Dripolator in Black Mountain, NC.
  • The Second Americano I got at The Dripolator in Black Mountain, NC.

Top Two Best Unplanned Moments of the 2-week Whirlwind:
  • Seeing Billy Harvey open for The Old 97's in Austin, Texas. My friends and I stumbled across Billy Harvey's website a few years ago and have been closet fans of his website ever since. We own none of his albums and have never attempted to see him in concert--until I accidentally did!
  • Spending 8 hours in the car with my aunt and uncle riding back from North Carolina to Ohio. This included playing James Bond Scene It, laughing a lot, and a fantastic visit to a Texan restaurant in West Virginia.

Top Two Touristy Things I Did Over Christmas:
  • Visit the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, NC.
  • Visit the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona.

Top Two Scariest Moments of Christmas Break:
  • Riding into downtown San Antonio with someone at the wheel driving 35 mph on the interstate in 8 lanes of traffic.
  • Having to help a van full of my exhausted friends come to consensus for where we should eat dinner in Flagstaff, AZ.

Top Two Things About Returning Home After A 2-week Whirlwind:
  • The killer cold I've been battling for the last week.
  • Returning from vacation in need of another vacation.