COVID was winding down, and so was my tedious first year of fellowship. I finally felt like I saw the light at the end of the tunnel, and finally the energy to explore MENver. I took to the app Hinge, hoping I could soon delete it after a successful match. Michael was playing the guitar and not wearing glasses in his Hinge profile picture, probably playing wonder wall. We struck up great conversation and I was relieved to finally find a guy who knew how to text without using 'K'. We met up for drinks at the local Call To Arms brewery. I knew he was the one when the painfully subtle Mrs. Doubtfire references landed. I was on call, but we stayed for 5 hours closing the bar down. Like the smartypants he is, Michael walked me to my car and already solidified our second date plans before the night ended. DATE TWO: Open Mic Comedy nights are amazing, for the audience. Jill's freak flag was out in full force, catcalling the comics who looked like Ed Sheeran. He didn't know at the time, but that was his last chance to bail. Luckily he more than tolerated my extroversion long enough for our first kiss. Date Three: Women who cook are great. MEN who cook are way better. A themed dinner of swordfish steak, Niçoise salad, and poutine (Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning) while he introduced me to my future fanatic obsession: hockey. As you all are now painfully aware, we have season tickets and take the same selfie every game, just with different toques. Go AVS. Along the way, Michael has been forced to experience my booze backpack full of White Claw and beef jerky at the pool, relaxation day with couples facials and massages, and our beloved Thirsty Tuesdays where we watch Love Is Blind with our matching gold wine chalices. "You sure know how to have a good time." Yes babe, we do. Now 2+ years later, he is the best dog dad, support system, and PIC. While he is still saved as Michael Saj in my phone from our first date, I succeeded in being able to delete Hinge forever, just as I'd hoped.
If you know Jill, you know two things are true: she loves surprises, and she is very hard to surprise. Proposal one: On February 9th, Jill and I went to a cooking class to celebrate Valentine's Day. After we had finished our entrees and the desserts were still in the oven, Jill leaned over to me at the table and said, "You, know, I really thought you were going to propose to me tonight..." It was about 8:30. In other words, far from the end of the evening. After we came home, we started talking about how much our lives had changed in the last year. We had gone to the same cooking class for Valentine's Day the year prior, before we lived together, before we had Scout, and before we had met most of each other's families. Thinking about how far we had come together filled us both with so much joy! I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring that I had bought a month earlier (thanks to expert guidance from Meredith), and asked Jill to marry me. I have never seen someone cry so much. I think they were mostly happy tears. We stayed up for hours making a playlist of our favorite love songs, which you will probably be hearing throughout the wedding weekend. Proposal two: on Valentine's Day itself, Jill was coming home from a long day at the clinic. When she walked in the door, my dog Simon ran up to her wearing a bandana that said "Will you marry my dad?" with a small Valentine's gift pinned to his collar. Scout ran up to Jill wearing a matching bandana that said "She said yes!" So the boys helped me out with the surprise, and we ate dinner and enjoyed some champagne to keep the celebrations going. Proposal three: A few weeks later I took Jill to Mizuna, a Michelin star restaurant that we had wanted to try for a long time. I had a rough plan of how to pop the question again in a semi-public place, but luckily I was let off the hook when the waitress came up to our table and said "I understand we're celebrating an engagement tonight!" loud enough for the tables around us to hear. Good thing we had already been through this twice before, so the surprise was only partially spoiled. The main event: Jill and I went to one of the many Colorado Avalanche games we attend throughout the season. We were walking to our usual seats, but I made a detour and went into a door off to the side of the main concourse.It turned out to be s suite, filled with our friends Chris, Andrea, Emily, Jordan, Paige and Spencer. What a weird coincidence that we would all end up in a suite together! At the 6 minute mark of the second period, during a commercial break, Jill and I look up to see some familiar faces on the Jumbotron. We saw ourselves with the caption "Odds that these two get engaged: 5000:1" It was a lucky bet that night, because I got down on my knee again and pulled out the engagement ring that I had asked to "borrow" minutes earlier! The AVS mascot come over and gave Jill flowers, and our closest friends got to share this special moment in front of 20,000 hockey fans. We felt like celebrities for the rest of the night. If we were in line at a concessions stand or walking around of the stadium, someone would inevitably point at us and say, "It's you guys!" I can't count how many free drinks we got that night... I think I accomplished my goal of making my proposal a surprise. After all, how could she see it coming if she thought it already happened?