Our story is kind of long, so here's the TL;DR version:
Nerd meets Nerdette, we date for 6 years, and I finally let him propose.
If you're interested in the full-length version, read on...
The Story of Ed and Cait
Realistically, the story begins in the fall of 2005 in Orlando, FL. Now if you want to get into technicalities, Ed and I actually first met on the internet when I was 15. At that time I was part of the Penny Arcade community (lol) which involved posting on the forums and hanging out in an MSN chat room (double lol). Ed was also an active community member, so we had briefly chatted and possibly (although my memory fails me) played games together online. Really, we didn't have much of a friendship or a connection at the time because I was still a babby and he was 20.
At his parent's house, 2006
Our real story begins in 2005 - I was a sophomore at Virginia Tech embarking on my first internship with Walt Disney World properties, at Epcot. At the time I was in a relationship with another member from the PA community (although by that time they had shot off into their own thing, but that's just semantics). My boyfriend at the time came to visit me while I was in Florida and suggested that we meet up with a few of the community members who were local to the area. I was reluctant at the time but he eventually convinced me to go, and funny enough this is where I met Ed for the first time in person.
A picture we took at one of the gatherings, 2005
All of us had so much fun at that gathering that we decided to get together again. Ed, myself, and a few others wanted to hang out at Downtown Disney for dinner and general shenanigans. We didn't make reservations anywhere and it was a pretty busy night, which resulted in us having to collect buzzers from various restaurants. Eventually, we claimed a spot at Bongos (best Cuban food ever by the way), however, I was stuck with one of the buzzers from the previous restaurant so I turned away from the group to return it (this is going somewhere, I promise). I realized I hadn't really said anything when I snuck off but I figured the group would put two and two together. As I was walking away, I had this strange nagging feeling that Ed was following me. Like, I knew he was behind me and watching out for me. I don't really know how to describe this moment because it was just a strange feeling at the time, like a bond I suppose. Anyway, this feeling prompted me to turn around. Sure enough there he was, with this "what the hell, where did you go" look on his face. I wrote a whole paragraph about this moment because despite how silly it sounds, it's the first time I knew Ed was special to me.
Universal Studios, 2005
Fast forward a few weeks later - I had gotten some free park hopper passes to Disney and didn't really know who to give them to. Everyone I knew in Florida already worked for Disney and none of my family or friends were coming down before the passes expired. On a whim, I reached out to Ed to invite him and a friend to come see the parks. He accepted (who wouldn't?) and brought along his good friend, Matt. We had so much fun and honestly I don't really remember much of it besides me and Matt berating Ed on his lackluster affections for the Carousel of Progress and Spaceship Earth.
At Disney, 2008
Throughout the rest of my internship, Ed and I continued to hang out - mostly eating and watching movies. We had developed a really strong friendship and had this strange but exciting bond that felt like we had known each other forever. It's cheesetacular, but it's true! At the time, I was still in a relationship so obviously we didn't act upon any potential romantic feelings, but we really "got" each other more than anyone else ever had. After my internship ended in Florida, we promised to keep in touch.
Throughout the next year and a half we continued to talk and occasionally visit each other. Ed was my rock and my best friend at the time - helping me through a lot of tough times in school and life in general. He never once tried to "steal" or dissuade me away from my boyfriend, which I thought was a huge hallmark of his character. However, by that time my relationship was fizzling out anyway. We eventually broke up, and I took a break from dating for a while.
I thought really hard about what I wanted in my next relationship that would make things work for the long term. I knew the next step was to be with Ed - we would be fools not to try. I invited him up to see me in April of 2007. Our first kiss was under the arch between East and West Campbell Hall, and the rest is history!
Epcot Parking Lot (how romantic)
Ed jokingly asked me to marry him on one of our first group outings after I recited the Ninja Rap verbatim. So needless to say, he's been wanting to put a ring on it for quite some time. When we did finally get together as a couple I gave him a five year timer in after which period of time I'd probably be ready for marriage. Of course, life had taken us in different directions by the time 5 years had passed - I left Ed and our dog Tali alone in Northern VA while I sorted out my career working for Google in MA. It didn't seem right for us to get engaged when we weren't even sure where we'd be living in three months. Fortunately, my career with Google worked out and Ed was able to move up north with me.
I knew that the proposal would be coming soon but being the little control-freak that I am, I wanted to lay down some ground rules:
1. The proposal had to be a complete surprise to me. Obviously I knew that it would happen eventually, but I love surprises and I wanted the proposal itself to catch me off guard.
2. Kind of tied to #1, I didn't want it to be in a restaurant. Too cliche.
3. It had to be a story. Mostly so when people asked I had something more to say than "oh yeah he just kinda got down on one knee!"
I think those were about it for my requirements although I'm sure Ed has a different story. In any case, the actual proposal came upon my return from vacation with my mother in Ft Lauderdale. I was tired, in sweatpants and hoodie, with absolutely no make up on. Perfect for pictures, right? Ed tells me on the way home that when he was walking Tali this morning he saw some really badass graffiti down by the end of the lake. It was so good that he had to show me in person; he said it was even better than POPPYCOCK.
POPPYCOCK was the best graffiti Ed and I had ever come across. On our commute to work in Virginia we used to drive by a red fence that guarded a McMansion estate. One morning on our drive we noticed that somebody wrote POPPYCOCK in bright white paint, complete with a giant happy-looking wiener on the fence. Sadly the McMansion family painted over it so since then we've just kind of joked about it in passing.
Okay, back to the story - I told Ed that there was NO way any graffiti could beat POPPYCOCK. It was just too damn good. He stopped the car by the path to show me in person, and I couldn't wait. I trudged through the snow in my measly hoodie and got to the end of the path, but there was nothing in sight. I turned to him and asked where this supposed graffiti was, and he pointed to the swing (which had been there for some time, long forgotten by the kids who had put it up). I still had no idea what was going on at this point, but I went over to flip the swing and found a white rose with a piece of paper that said "SURPRISE!" on it. I thought Ed was just being cute, but then I heard You're My Best Friend by Queen playing (our song) so I turned around and to my surprise I found him kneeling! He asked me to marry him and I said yes (obviously)!
Taken right after I said yes
Right after we took the obligatory pics, I told him I was actually kind of bummed that there was no graffiti but that a proposal was obviously better. I guess the lesson here kids is that nothing, absolutely nothing, can beat POPPYCOCK.
To be honest, we're not really thinking too hard about it right now. I plan events as part of my job at Google so planning my wedding is kind of a chore to be honest (although, a fun one with obvious benefits). Ed couldn't really care less about what we do as long as I show up!
Our thoughts so far are that we'd like a small, practical wedding - meaning, probably not a traditional ceremony and reception. Ideally, we'd like to elope somewhere (we're thinking Ireland at the moment) and have a few close family members with us to witness and celebrate. I'm also toying with the idea of having a big bash before we leave for said wedding destination, most likely in VA as that's where most of our friends and family reside. I'm actually really excited about the possibility of this send-off party - in my head, I imagine catering Chipotle (duh) and having a live band play music while everyone drinks themselves silly. Kind of like a wedding but without the boring parts.
Anyway, that's it for now - enjoy this picture of lego married version of me and Ed!