I still can't 100% believe it.
She said yes.
Just how did I get so lucky? And how did she get so lucky to have me asking her?
Hahahaha yeah, right. First one for sure.
But seriously, she said Yes. Whoa.
And no, don't look at me like that either. Yes, you're absolutely right, I shouldn't have been as nervous as I was or have my hands STILL be shaking just a little bit now more than 24 hours later. Those of you who know me, know I'm not one for gushing.
But this is all so DIFFERENT. It's so weird.
I am 6 foot 2 inches tall and I know a lil' bit Jiu Jitsu, am Bujinkan Taijutsu (Ninja) trained, have fought semi-professionally in Muay Thai for a bit with lots of wins, studied some Nam Wah Pai, learnt (and taught) a bit of Kendo, spent time learning Tai Chi Ch'uan and Chang Ch'uan plus dabbled in some Shaolin Temple boxing and a few others. I'm strong willed, a manager of around 30 staff for a big nationwide company, I'm not arrogant, not a dick, and am relatively confident.
Yup, I do alright and can look after myself.
So, like anyone, I would've expected this martial art history and personal make-up to mean that I should - according to most men's opinions - have great big shiny balls of polished steel, plenty big enough to stand up in front of the world and proudly take on any situation head first.......right?
Yes! Of course!
But as it turns out......ahhh.......No.
Not even close.
Y'see, it seems that I have discovered a reasonable weakness to my considerable armour (aside from my family) - and she's a girl.
Andrea is a woman who is just on 6 foot tall, doesn't know how to fight at all (unless she's gettin' her Invercargill on) so isn't scrappy, is regally elegant like royalty, likes the finer things, is beautifully kind hearted, full of empathy, is sensitive and beautiful inside and out, is my best friend, strangely loves me to bits, is able to keep me in line (also strangely), is encouraging, is a great Mum/Step Mum and is unlike any woman I have ever known.
No offence to any ladies reading this.
She's the uptown girl to my downtown guy.
After that 7 hour hang out in the Holden "just talking" date - I was pretty sure I found my "one" and hadn't even known I'd been looking. A few years later and that feeling hasn't changed one bit.
Now, I have faced up to many difficult situations that I'm sure would've broken lesser men in my past - both violent and non-violent, all crisis of varying degrees, all handled fairly well if I do say so myself.
So, to find this freakin-out feeling happening whenever I was dealing with her?
Which landed me in a whole other level the moment I decided to propose.
I was TERRIFIED.
See those capital letters? Yep, that scared.
Being the upstanding Matamata boy that I am, the terms "Girls blouse" and "Woosie" came to mind about myself, as uncomfortable as this is to think about one's self.
I might have even hazarded a guess at giving myself a hard time at being a bit "delicate" or perhaps "Flimsy" with a nice soft floral pattern.
Having these Feelings? Bah. Even worse, about a woman??
Oww...dude...harden up. Cup of concrete bro'.
Now hopefully - in order to regain some of my usual Matamata boy reputation - I assume that most people performing this act of a proposal are gibbering idiots too, all complete with the hot flushes, dry mouth, shaking hands, and heart beat banging up into their eyes, just like mine were. Pretty sure it goes with the territory.
I barely managed to contain any semblance of "cool factor" prior to the moment and couldn't eat, sleep or concentrate for days before. I am pretty sure I mighta been acting a bit weird too. For weeks.
And with this post? Yeah, I'm still being weird even now.
So are you curious as to how I did it? How I popped the question?
Okay, fair enough, stop here, click away. Go watch the rugby, change the channel to motor sport. I'm going to after I get all this out.
If you do want to know, keep reading.
I warn you though, it might get a little bit....
E m o t i o n a l
Hahahahaha, no, don't worry. You'll be fine, I promise.
Months and months before the 14th July 2014, I had hunted down the perfect ring with a mate who works for Michael Hill, boy, he had to work ridiculously hard for me. Around 10 rings he got in, I whipped in during lunch breaks to check them but none of them were "it". Same styles - elegant - but too many occlusions or not the right amount of sparkle.
When I found the right one, it went in my pocket wherever we went. For months.
Hundreds of amazing ideas on how to propose filled up most nights. Friends offered some great ideas too but these never quite panned out or they just didn't feel quite right.
Finally I made my decision. My moment was going to be about four weeks out.
I decided that I am who I am, so this proposal had to be in line with that, and genuine, but most importantly, it had to be great for her.
And so just like her sister Rach has since named it, this proposal had to be "Ninja" because after all, one should always go with your strengths.
How to do a Ninja proposal I hear you ask?
Well...goes a lil' som'thin' like 'dis...
1. Her Mum was to arrive for her school holiday holiday (she works for a school). Timing equals good. Andrea and her family are wonderfully close, her Mum cool as can be. Tick.
2. What is the most unexpected day of the week for anyone on earth to propose? Easy. Has to be a Monday. Tick.
3. Best time to do it? After dinner just when everyone has wound down and most at rest. Much like infiltrating an enemies fortress at 4:30am - higher likelihood all will be sleeping soundly and unaware.
4. How to get everybody into the lounge for the moment? Any method possible, but STAY COOL.
5. How to best put Andrea well off the scent? Get home and do nothing. Yup. NO-THING. Even if asked to do something, especially if asked to do something. Lull her into thinking I'm being difficult.
6. But most important thing of all? Tell. No one.
Now to figure out the best "how" to actually do all this and propose?
Ninja up. Read on.
Andrea's Mum has a very bling ring that Andrea always steals when her Mum arrives.
Andrea wears it to work on the finger next to the engagement finger and laughs at how often people do a double take, thinking she might be engaged. It's a very pretty ring, very eye-catching.
Sunday night we picked up her Mum from the airport and Andrea nabbed the ring to wear Monday. So far so good.
Monday work-day came and went, I got nothing done as was far too busy freaking out and trying to keep my heart from making my head explode (sorry boss).
I arrived home from work after her, around 5pm and tried desperately to keep my cool, somewhat successfully as it turned out. No one noticed or suspected a thing.
Andrea was complaining of sore shoulders and asked if I could rub them for her. I said no. She wasn't happy with that. I couldn't risk me fixing her up because the ring and case were in my front pocket, she may have wondered at it.
10 minutes later she asked me to please go make our bed (as we'd been a bit rushed that morning) and again, I parked my ass on the couch and said no to that too. Her frown almost made me catch fire.
Dinner went by (I hardly ate but did my best so as not to gain suspicion) and all the normal end of day things played out - her son Finn was doing his reading words and homework, my son Trey was doing some chores, kids hanging out, TV going on to wind-down etc
Finally (after managing to keep my son in the lounge with us too) I remarked at the ring of her Mums as she lay almost asleep on the couch.
"Anyone make any comments about your Mum's ring today?"
Barely eyes even open, she was still fairly dismissive, which was hilarious. She was still pissy at me for not helping out after she had cooked me dinner as well. I think Mum might not have been thinking too much of me at that stage either.
"Nah, not really," she sighed from between slightly clenched teeth. "A couple of people noticed, maybe one or two, but nah, not really..."
That moment I was up and moving over toward her, hand in my pocket and pulling the ring out.
I went down on one knee in front of the couch Andrea was laying down on, next to where her Mum was sitting;
"Well you better give everyone something really to talk about then."
Shock crossed her face. She sat bolt upright, her Mum hooted like an owl and I popped the question. She shrieked, freaked, cried, was stunned, the works.
And the rest is now grinning history. Kids were over the moon, Trey even cried tears of joy.
Yes - if I have to admit it, I do still have those warm fuzzy things goin' on and no, you egg, I'm not taking about fluffy bunny slippers or towels on a heated towel rail.
Best explanation is it's kinda like a low power cordless drill motor spinning inside your guts, not the drill bit part (that would be gross and weird).
It's slightly jittery inside, makes your skin wobble, yet is oddly satisfying.
It's been more than 24 hours now since I proposed and she thankfully agreed that yes, I am absolutely the most awesome man on the planet (ok, ad-libbing this bit of course, but I'm sure it's obvious that's what she means).
I am still getting chills. Friend of mine said I'll have these for a few days at least. Chills like this are a very good feeling.
I've got the REAL BIG happy now. Buzzing away like a little turbine.
Must admit though, this smiling like a goon thing is messing with my rep. People are wondering what I'm up to all the time.
I am engaged to be married to a truly wonderful woman, and I am thankful at how I have gotten so very lucky. Our door frames perhaps don't feel the same as both of us have managed to walk into them after kissing each other a few times. Embarrassing yes but well funny too.
So I guess some things are just meant to be.
I'm just stoked that my hands have at least stopped shaking. It's really quite hard to write when you try gehfl;hiIHLIEHRFC.