Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Now Where to Begin

It's now calm after the storm and Mike and I are both very tired. It was a hectic and fun weekend - a roller coaster ride of ups and lulls, but no downs. Last night we were hoping to catch our seventh and eighth winds so that we could make it home in one piece. I met David for lunch today so I could tell him about my ring and now there are only stragglers and strangers to tell for the most part. Oh, and the friends who haven't returned my phone calls. The rest I'm leaving up to the game of telephone, word of mouth and a Myspace page blog post.

So basically, the weekend went something like this:

Friday night: drinks, monopoly, laughing

Saturday: Heavy duty cleaning! I did suspect Sunday may be the day and I knew that would mean that organization and staying ahead of the game would be crucial to a stress free celebration. I made meatballs so we had a ready-made dinner for later in the week and the house was more or less spotless. And mom always said clean sheets are the best for holidays and special occasions so not only did I change the sheets but I cleaned the mattress cover as well and I gave the mattress a much needed turn.

Saturday night: Mike and I headed out to High Velocity in Beechwood to meet up with some of the Boardwalk Brawlers for a fundraiser/promotional thing. Mike met four of my future teammates and I got a chance to get to know a few of the girls better and to get some additional information and to ask questions. I'm really glad I went. Here's a picture in which I look AWFUL. If I look over excited to be asked to be in the photo, I was.

Sunday Mike and I got up by 7:30 to get ready to head down to Cape May. We had breakfast at our favorite place, the Mad Batter, and then headed over to the Point. Getting around in Cape May is so easy - I just love going there.

Soon after I was settled in my beach chair and started reading Mike proposed and it was great! It happened very fast and afterwards we went about our day at the beach and had a blast and I had something to look at all day and calls to make and it was all very nice. I found the perfect rock to take home as a memento and to write the date on. We laughed and waved at one another and stole kisses in the surf and I couldn't have asked for a better day. And it wasn't even half over yet!

We got home around 4:00 or so and it was time to get ready for our 6:00 dinner reservation at Blackbird as part of Collingswood restaurant week. We notified the Maitre d' that we had gotten engaged and could we please have a romantic table. We were then provided with the best dining experience of our lives. It was the best meal we've ever eaten and the best service we've ever received - the experience was spectacular and we were very grateful. Blackbird helped to end the night of our engagement on a most glorious note so we wrote the owner and head chef a letter yesterday to thank him again and to let him know just how well his staff treated us and just how wonderful his food was and just how much they all added to our special day.

For all you foodies out there, this is what we ordered.

Course One:

I ordered the handmade potato gnocchi in a tomato basil cream sauce with parmesan and mozzarella. Mike ordered the same but added the optional fresh jumbo lump crab. It was a heavy dish but very nice. The portion size was slightly too large for a first course and I did not finish it.

Course Two:

I had been looking forward to this since we made our reservation. Finally after years of watching Top Chef and Iron Chef, I was going to taste my first confit! I ordered the crispy confit of free range chicken with sweet pea risotto and jus de poulet (my first demi glace). I also ordered the optional additional seared breast of chicken. The dish was to die for and I am not exaggerating. The skin on the confit was so crisp and the chicken flavor was so intense and the meat was so moist - it was an amazing experience in my mouth. I had also been looking forward to the risotto and it too was delicious - the cream just melted off the rice in my mouth and made me smile every time I had some.

Mike ordered the pan seared Chilean sea bass with artichoke and olive fregola sarda (a toasted breadcrumb-like pasta from the island of Sardinia). He also ordered the optional additional Prince Edward Island mussels. Mike's been really getting into seafood lately and he just loved his dish as well.

Course Three:

For dessert we both ordered the arborio rice pudding and I added on the polenta cookies which had a lovely hint of lemon. Our server brought out our dessert on one dish with a small candle and said they don't usually do it that way but that they thought we'd enjoy it. It was lovely.

Between the wine, the Rogue, the meal and the cappuccinos we were stuffed to a maximum and I mean it when we say it was the best meal we've ever had.

Here's a photo from the evening (our big debut):

Monday it was time for us to head back to work. Mike's parents were more or less the only ones who had not yet known about the engagement. We knew Mike's mom wanted an in-person announcement so we decided we would accommodate her. I wrote her an e-mail saying hello and that we wanted to hear about her weekend - would she be home tonight? Yes.

We headed up north to see my mom first who already knew about our engagement as she was the first person I called. We pulled up to the house at the same time and she got out of the car singing a made up song (I think) about how her daughter was getting married. We showed her the ring and had some pizza. It was loud, hectic, and rushed - the way I like it at mom's house. But time slipped away from me and we had to go. We made it over to Mike's parents house and his mom's truck wasn't there. That suuuucked. So Mike called his dad to see where she was and he said she'd be home at 9:00. Ouch. We were basically stranded as Mike didn't want to go back to my mom's so we decided to call Rudy and see if we could kill some time at his place. He was happy to accommodate us so that actually worked out really well because we all got to hang out for a little bit and I got to show off my ring some more and talk about roller derby some more and the guys got to catch up and talk about their cars.

Around 8:40 Mike's mom called and said she was home so Mike said he'd call her back in five minutes and we left Rudy's to go surprise his parents. We rang the doorbell and Mike's dad answered and yelled to his mom that Michael was at the door. I walked in the house and his mom walked into the room and she knew immediately. She started screaming and crying and jumping up and down and grabbed us both and confessed her love and happiness and thanked us profusely for the joy we had brought in to her family. Mike and I just laughed, but it was all very sweet. Then she grabbed us and ran us over to the speaker phone where she proceeded to call her brother and best friend who both live in Florida and we gave them the news. Then we all sat down and talked for an hour or so about all different stuff including our plans and she regularly interrupted the conversation to give us hugs and kisses. I couldn't have asked for it to have gone any better.

By the time we left I was dozing. Getting excited so many times just wiped me out. It was a wonderful weekend. All that's left is to get my big brother Doug on the phone who is traveling. I left him a message shortly after Mike proposed on Sunday and gave him the news and he left me a message Monday night congratulating us and saying he had news of his own. I missed his call a little while ago and tried to get him but couldn't. At times like this I miss him very much.

So next is the engagement party (which has been planned for a few weeks. ;-) ) and then on to planning our wedding. Mike is so wonderful. He takes all my excitement in stride and asks so little. I rattle off all the things that have to be done and he simply asks for reminders and an itinerary (his words not mine). I couldn't have hoped for a better husband.

*Addendum: Doug and I finally got in touch this evening and now I feel complete knowing how happy and supportive he is for us. His news was BIG, but more about that another time. Mike had shown him the ring when he was out visiting back in June so he's known for a while but now that it's all happening, hearing him congratulate us was the icing on the cake.

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