Two weeks ago, while I was in St. Louis, we decided to go ring shopping. We had no intention whatsoever of actually buying a ring, but only to get some idea of what styles were good, and some idea about diamonds. Let's face it, for all the information available online, there's no substitute for hands-on experience with someone who knows what they are doing. On a friend's recommendation, we went to a nearby Jared (Yes, he went to Jared) and were treated like royalty as we browsed numerous settings from platinum (Because if you're not actually buying anything, why the heck not?) and white gold. We settled on two settings, one with lots of pave diamonds around the center setting and making a "V" down the sides, and the stylish one pictured below. Ultimately, when the center stone was put in place, the other ring just looked like a whole lot of shiny, while the sapphires in this setting really made it "pop," and the way Laura's eyes lit up really decided that this was THE RING. Many thanks are owed to the store staff who kept Laura entertained while I tried somewhat in vain to keep the whole thing a secret. Later that evening, when it was time to pick up the ring, and the pizza for dinner, I insisted that I should pick up the pizza without Laura, with each excuse less believable than the last, until finally, a wave of understanding passed over her face, and, defeated, I sighed, "Why don't you know when to stop talking?" It was very hard to keep the ring away from Laura for two whole more weeks, but I think it was worth it.
My greatest feat in all of this, was actually managing to surprise Laura with the proposal. On Saturday afternoon, we had lunch with her parents, and (after some nervous twitching) we broached the subject of our plans to get engaged and asked for their blessing. Mr. Cuber was bemused that we even asked, and Mrs. Cuber thought that we should have been asking "permission" (I think only half in jest :D ). Saturday evening, Laura and I went out to dinner at a nice sushi restaurant in Wicker Park. We were only a few minutes late for our reservation after the GPS directions misled us when it couldn't find us in the concrete jungle of downtown Chicago. Originally I had several possible plans of having the ring served in the food somehow, and relying on the creativity of the sushi chef. But then I realized that I didn't really want to let that ring out of my sight! Divine inspiration came in the form of plum wine served in shallow glasses. I casually picked up her glass to refill it, and deftly slipped the ring into it. Laura took a few sips and then fished the ring out of the glass. After I shared some very moving words about my undying love and how much she means to me, Laura reminded me that I hadn't yet actually asked her any question. So with a somewhat embarrassed, "Omigod, will you marry me?" and an excited "Yes!" we were engaged!
It's only been 24 hours since, and I still don't think it has settled in. We're both so very very happy, and excited, and just a little nervous about what the heck we do now. Obviously the question on everyone's mind is if we have a date in mind, and no, we don't. We've decided that it will be at least one year before we are ready to go through the exhilarating but all-consuming process of planning a wedding.