July 3rd, 2002:
Operation Candle

One year ago, June 1st, Gina and I went on our first date. Neither of us thought that it would work. (Our first conversation a year earlier ended up in disagreement over online music sharing… we’ve reconciled since…) In all honesty, I only planned a simple dinner at a popular restaurant because I thought we would have nothing to talk about… nothing in common.


When I’m wrong I’m REALLY wrong! We barely touched our food, we talked the entire time. Since we were in the middle of our conversation, I had to think fast to extend our date (the restaurant was closing). We hopped in the car and drove into Royal Oak. We had a drink at Memphis Smoke, then had some coffee at Comet Burger. We didn’t stop talking the entire time. It was amazing! We had EVERYTHING in common. At the end of the night we decided that we should watch a movie that had come up in our conversation some time. The next day, we were doing just that. Things just kept getting better from there.

Last Friday Gina and I went out to recreate our first date for our anniversary. She didn’t know what we were doing, but a few minutes into the drive, I think she had it pretty well figured out. Apart from a not-so-friendly visit with the local law enforcement (it was a prom night, so we were pulled over and harassed for no reason, then I was given a b.s. ticket for not having my vehicle registration signed), the entire night went wonderfully.

We had dinner at Benihana, then a quick stop at Memphis Smoke, followed by a Boston Cooler at Comet Burger. The entire evening I was preoccupied with the time. Which I dismissed as concern over a production file push at work. I explained that I was expecting a call to tell me if things were o.k. or not. We left for home.

In all truth I was incredibly nervous. Two of my close friends and coworkers agreed to help me set up the evening. While we were enjoying dinner and drinks, Joy, Brad and his girlfriend, Melissa were busy preparing the next scene…

About 2 miles from the house I got a text message on my phone. About a minute later the phone rang. Again, I kept calm, completed my discussion, and continued driving. We parked in the back and walked into the house.

Kacey was barking wildly in her crate downstairs, so Gina offered to let her out, but I suggested that she not worry about that for the moment. Then, pointing at the kitchen floor, I said, “What’s this?” Gina asked me what was going on, I told her to follow them and we’ll find out.

We walked through the kitchen, then the hall, and into the living room. Looking around the room, Gina gasped, “Oh my goodne… OH MY GOD!”, as tears welled up in her eyes, she waved her hands nervously in front of her face. With that I picked up the ring, got down on my left knee, took her hand and said:

When you find someone you want to be with forever, you want forever to start as soon as possible.

On Saturday, June 1st, at 12:05 am, I asked Gina to marry me. She said yes. I’ve never been so happy… scared… nervous… and relieved in my life.

Further information and related links:

Benihana Restaurants
Memphis Smoke
Photos of the Setup and Reaction

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