Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Five Years in Five Days - Collateral Damage

This Friday, Mrs. Bootleg and I celebrate five years marriage. I'm paying tribute to the little woman all week long in the hope that it'll get me out of having to buy a real gift…

In August 2001, I bought an engagement ring from Southern California's most annoying jewelers. I hadn't given much thought as to how I'd pop the question, but since the girlfriend's birthday was about a month away, I figured it would have to coincide with that.

You wouldn't know it from the 1997-inspired white text/black background design here at TBG, but I'm actually pretty creative when it comes to gift-giving. For example – and, get ready to be blown away – my groomsmen were made up of four old friends/longtime weekend pitching and hitting buddies. So, for their groomsmen gifts, I got them miniature wood bats with their names carved in.

See? Creative!

Anyways, I was drawing a blank on the "how" and "where" to propose.

At the end of my rope, I decided to embrace absolute douche-baggery and arrange for one of those Jumbo-Tron marriage proposals at the A's v. Angels game at Anaheim Stadium on Friday, September 14. Her birthday.

That the girlfriend agreed to go to a freakin' baseball game on her birthday was an early tip-off that this proposal wasn't exactly a government secret, anymore. I had an elaborate lie in my mouth that involved reservations at a swank Hollywood hot spot after the game and a posh suite for the end of the evening. All of which went unneeded when I didn't have to convince GF Bootleg that killing three-plus hours with American League baseball wasn't a bad thing on her birthday.

The Angels have quite the scam in place for scoreboard messages, too. It cost me a $75 "donation" to the Orange County chapter of one of those "last wish for dying kids" outfits. I still remember the guy on the other end telling me, "But, you can give more if you like." Thanks, I'm fine with the minimum.

I had the ring, the message and the tickets.

And, the terrorists had the airplanes.

9/11 happens…thousands die…America forever altered…Major League Baseball postpones all their games for a week.

Out of respect, I waited until the next day to call the Angels and see about getting my money back. I had no more use for a message at a game that wouldn't be played until the first week of October. "We don't refund donations, sir, but we can put the donation in your name, instead of the Angels." Pretty sure that doesn't fit the legal or literal definition of "compromise", but – out of respect – I accepted his terms.

Hastily, I made reservations for a seafood place in Del Mar that features seaside patio dining with "the most spectacular sunset in San Diego County". I asked for a seat inside, since I hate wearing a shirt and tie and sitting outside in the sun.

My cheap, ill-fitting slacks didn't do much to hide the square ring-box bulge in my pocket. I had the barbecued salmon which, if I was blogging back then, would've received the same "500" score that
the fried rattlesnake at last summer's County Fair got.

Afterwards, the girlfriend and I walked the streets by the water. She was a few minutes from asking me where her goddam ring was, so I un-wedged it from my pants (for my next marriage proposal: a better hiding place) and softly axed, "Do you wanna get married or what?"

Good times.

Next: All the ways an open bar at a wedding can go horribly, horribly wrong!

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