First off, welcome and warm birthday wishes to Parker Ryan Melin, who turns celebrates his first birthday today, and to Lauren Strickland Akesson, who’s age shall not be revealed as I have not been given verbal or written permission to do so. We are, however, the same age now, so use what you know of me and figure it out yerself.
That being said, despite how well you think you know me (uh, most of both sides of my family and lots of my friends), let’s see how well you do on this pop quiz:
- Where am I in the world right now?
- Do I have a boyfriend?
- What is his name?
- Have I recently become engaged to said possible boyfriend, and if so, how in the crap did THAT happen?
The answer to the first question is: Africa. It’s hot-ass noon on Tuesday in Accra and I have just woken up from what seems like a long, strange-with-dream winter’s nap. Only a few days ago, I was in snowy Amsterdam, visiting beautiful bout-to-burst Birgit and the-man-who-dutifully-puts-on-her-shoes Manu, enjoying a midmorning snack of eel and drinking multiple REAL coffees. Less than a day after that (and without my dadgum camera, which I had left in the dadgum Netherlands), I was back in America…in Tallahassee…in the arms of my boyfriend, Rev. Desmond Ares D’Angelo (Leisa was there, too!), who was waiting to pick me up at Tallahassee Regional Airport in a green tuxedo…with a ring nearby which he very soon intended to put on my finger, and which I would very soon agree to wearing.
Huh, I guess that whole paragraph pretty much answered most of those pop quiz questions save: how in the crap did all this happen.
Desmond accomplished the unthinkable, in my opinion, when he sold enough stuff on eBay to buy me a ticket home for the holidays. I had sincere reservation concerning his ability to:
a) make enough money, as round-trip tickets from Accra to Tallahassee were running $1700 at the cheapest
2) make that amount of money in time
d) understand exactly what sort of feat he was undertaking
On the other hand, I never doubted his resolve or determination to get me home, as he’s a stubborn sonofabitch of tireless, albeit occasionally belligerent and aggressive effort, if he wants to be. And, as it turns out, I should have given more consideration to his degree of Absolute and Unapologetic Nerdiness, as Desmond has unofficially mastered the field. Someone give the man a diploma! Or better yet, a trophy! Apparently, my fiance has more nerdy, of-demand, packrat bullshit—er, I mean, Prince CDs, a ridiculous variety of Muppet collectables, Jay and Silent Bob figurines and other bizarre paraphernalia (such as molar extractors)—stowed away in boxes and closets throughout his house than I could have ever imagined. I was positively f*cking amazed to learn that all the crap—again, sorry, I mean, the beloved stuff he’s collected for years and years and years and years—he posted for sale on eBay fetched way more than the necessary $1700, and to this day, he’s STILL cashing in.
So, anyway, long story short, he bought my plane ticket (in fair exchange: I’ll buy him a ticket to come visit me in Africa sometime later this year), picked me up at the airport late on Christmas Eve, took me home and popped the question. I said yes, and there you have it: betrothed people J Check out our pictures on facebook. We’re colorful, and, in some, a bit tipsy. Fair warning.
I could go into the romantics of it all, but there really weren’t many cliché moments in either our courtship or his proposal. He proposed to me with a plastic Green Lantern ring (look it up. Green Lantern. It’s a comic book thing), which I accepted out of sheer love and appreciation for it’s distinction. It also nicely offsets my huge knuckles, so that was a bonus. I, uh, er, also kinda had an idea what type of ring to expect, but that’s a whole other story…
He didn’t get down on one knee—at first—but stood in the doorway of his kitchen and took the box out of the fleece he had brought to the airport for me to wear if it was chilly (which it wasn’t; ah, weird Tallahassee weather, how you often and impenitently thwart) and presented me with the offer. Later, when I was on the phone with my relatives in Kansas on Christmas Day, Grandad Leis asked if Desmond had gotten down on one knee. Desmond was within earshot when I answered, no, Grandad, he hadn’t—at which Desmond promptly got down on his knee, pointed directly at me, and winked.
Also, come to find out, the Green Lantern ring was just a decoy and my actual engagement ring is an untraditional stunner that used to belong to his grandmother: filigreed platinum band with a rectangular face that flips sides, from either a pearly cameo to a setting of onyx and diamond.
Success! You win! Take your place among the family, Desmond.