for better or for worse

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Vows start early ’round these parts. J was laid off on Monday. He worked for a pretty small company, and was the newest employee, and highest paid, so it was no doubt a smart business decision. Buuuuut it still sucks. This is the second time he’s gotten the hook since the recession started. Obviously not his fault, but a blow to the ego nonetheless.

The first time, last May, he didn’t really like his job anyway, and he had a good bit of cash saved up, so he didn’t take it too hard. This time though, he hasn’t built his savings back up, and he really liked what he was doing and the people he worked with. So it just sucks all around. We worked on his resume last night, and he’s been online today looking for jobs. The difference from the last time he looked is amazing. He does software development, so a pretty high demand set of skills, and last time he would get pages and pages of job openings when he did searches. Now, maybe 10 jobs will pop up. And we live in an area that has been, comparatively speaking, somewhat removed from the worst of the economic crunch.

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for us that he finds something soon. I think he’s going to look for something with a bigger (i.e. more stable) company this time around. Money will be tight until he finds something, but if we watch the budget pretty closely we should be okay, for a month or so anyway. Wedding spending will have to slow down a little. Or start going on credit cards, which we wanted to avoid. Mostly it just sucks seeing someone you love so upset and literally not be able to do anything about it. I feel completely useless.

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it’s official…

We’re engaged!! J proved that he does in fact know me better than anyone, by coming up with the perfect proposal when even I couldn’t have told you what my perfect proposal would be. He also managed to completely surprise me. I’ll retell as I recall it… it gets a little montage-like because, well, my brain apparently ceased normal function and all I really remember are images and words.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned previously, but both sets of our parents live pretty close by, so we generally end up eating holiday dinners twice. On Thursday morning we slept in until about 10:00, and then took our time getting ready to head to my parents house for the first dinner. I did notice that he seemed extra cheerful as we were getting ready, but I figured… hey, who doesn’t like free food and a long weekend? Also, he happily changed his shirt without so much as a bat of the eye when I pointed out that his orange and my pink would clash. Usually he would have teased me first. I did think that was a little odd, but again, it didn’t really make me pause.

We got to my folks house and everything seemed to be perfectly normal, we helped get the food set up, hung out with my family (I’m the oldest of four) and sat down to eat. One of the traditions in our family is to go around the table at Thanksgiving dinner and tell what we’re thankful for. So we went around once, everyone gave fairly standard answers… family, friends, health, jobs. The conversation went on, but every so often someone would pipe up with “Oh, I’m also thankful for…” and mention something else.

When we were about done eating, J says, “I thought of something else I’m thankful for. I’m thankful that you have invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with your family for the second year in a row”

Still oblivious, I’m thinking, “That’s so sweet of him to thank my parents like that!”

Then he looks at me and continues “…and I’m so thankful to have met Kate and have such a wonderful person in my life.”

Me (thinking): Aw, I love him! He is such a keeper!

J (reaching into his pocket): “…and I was wondering if she would agree…”

Me (thinking): OH MY GOD!

Me: Eyes get wide and mouth drops open. Look around the table to see the rest of my family with their mouths hanging open.

J (gets on one knee next to my chair and pops open ring box): “…to be my wife”

Me: Throws arms around J.

Me (thinking): Oh, I should probably answer him.

Me: “OF COURSE!”

Family: Laughing, crying, oh-my-god-ing, jumping out of seats to hug us.

Someone (my sister, maybe?): Put the ring on!

Then there was a flurry of hugging and kissing and congratulating and “let me see the ring”ing. Champagne seemed to appear out of nowhere, as did a number of cameras. I asked my mom if she knew and she started laughing and said no. The next thing that is really concrete in my recollection is after everyone sat back down at the table, it got really quiet and J goes “Er, sorry to hijack your Thanksgiving dinner!” Of course, no one cared 🙂

Afterward, we went to have dinner with HIS family, and decided not to say anything until someone noticed. It took his sister all of maybe five minutes, after which there was more hugging and kissing and congratulating and grabbing of my left hand and another toast. No one was particularly surprised, I don’t think.

My Dad’s whole family was having Thanksgiving dinner together at my aunt’s house so we called the house and told them. The next day we went to see my Mom’s side of the family for my grandfather’s 80th birthday, so they were all pleasantly surprised and happy to see us so soon after the event.

I’m really close to my family (however much I might gripe about them sometimes!) and there was no one (besides J, obviously) that I would have rather shared that moment with. He totally knew it and picked a time when we’d be able to be with a large number of family within a few days. (He told me later that he was actually disappointed when I told him that we weren’t going to PA for the big dinner at my aunt’s house like we usually do, because he’d hoped to have more family there!) But having my parents and siblings there was perfect.

What else… oh yes! The ring. It’s a princess cut diamond solitaire with five channel set round diamonds on each side, in white gold. Hope everyone else had a fabulous Thanksgiving, as well.

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