ActiveSteve and the Act of Engagement

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In the Shade of Gazebo

Do you see what I just did there with the title? Pretty clever, hunh? I can guarantee you all that this blog post will be unlike most of the ones that I write out for you all. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’ll be the only time you ever read about such an occasion from me 🙂 The genesis of the plans for this momentous occasion happened some time ago. In fact, the moment was over three months in the making! It’s a story that makes me very happy, and I’d like to take a few paragraphs to write about how it all happened. Obviously, you know the outcome of it all, but it’s still fun to go back in time and see how it all came about. Please read on if you’re a romantic and want to hear the tale.

Engagement Weekend Pictures

2010 was a pretty major year in my life. Early in the year, I went through some pretty big changes. One thing that didn’t change was my passion for racing and being in the great outdoors. To those ends, I’d signed up for the Frontier Adventure Challenge, which was to be held at Deerhurst Resort near Huntsville. I had no room booked, and no team. Just going solo for the fun of it. I can honestly say there is no way I could have predicted what was in store. There was volunteer at that race. Her name? Deanna. I’d met her in 2006 at another race, and we’d gotten along well every time we’d hung out at races. She, along with her uncle and father, often helped out at these events. However, in the past, I’d obviously never made any passes or hit on her, just joked, talked, and got along. This time however, I thought I’d perhaps be a little more forward with her. We were both single, so why not? What’s the harm?

That night, after the awards, we both attended the same post-race party and flirted with each other and went for a nice evening stroll that stretched late into the night. Having nowhere to sleep, I walked Deanna back to her room, then promptly returned to my car for an uncomfortable, yet happy sleep in the passenger seat with all my stinky gear (all this alluded to in the original blog post from that race).

The next day, we spoke a little bit, and then I had to leave. I had just moved into my new house, and was still setting things up. Deanna was also helping out at the high-school race that day, so she was busy. However, some spark had started the previous night, and I was rather intrigued. So, on the way home, while stopped at Dixie Lee in Barry’s Bay, I tentatively texted her my email address and other info. I also innocently asked if she might like to visit me for a weekend (she lived in Toronto). To my surprise, she said yes the next day. Later I learned that her process was basically that she couldn’t find a good enough reason to say no, hence saying yes!

That first weekend almost didn’t happen, as she remembered some other plans that had been made, but a last-minute shuffling, and she was on a train to Ottawa. I was very nervous at the prospect, and spent most of the week trying to get the house in some sort of shape to accept guests that I’d like to make a favourable impression on. Painting, wiring, furniture, etc. All had to be done. All the while training, and chatting lots with Deanna via email and texts. During the visit, we started to get to know each other a lot better, and I did my best to cook nice meals and show her great things to keep her interest. Neither of us truly knew where it would go, but we had a lot of fun just being around each other. I believe the quote from her that weekend which will forever remain in my head is “If you treat me this well all the time, you’ll never get rid of me.” We laughed about that, but who would have guessed how prophetic it would prove to be!

Over the course of the next few months the fun and happiness only grew greater every time we saw each other. When we were apart, we kept in constant contact through emails, instant messages, Skype video calls, phone calls, etc. etc. It didn’t take long for both of us to hate the time apart, and when a weekend would pass where we weren’t together, something was clearly missing. In fact, to try and make things work even better, I negotiated an arrangement at work whereby I could work from the Toronto office for 1 week per month starting in the fall.

Of course, even that quickly became not enough. We knew we were bound to be together and that we both wanted to accelerate that process. As such, Deanna took the big plunge and started looking for work in Ottawa. Although there was some discussion, it was agreed that this was the best option, as our lifestyle was more suited to Ottawa than Toronto on the whole. I couldn’t overlook the fact that she was making a large change for me, and could only hope that this was the right decision!

As all of you will know and can likely attest, this was absolutely the right choice, and the best thing to happen in both of our lives. We are both happy beyond words, and to this day, are pained whenever we need to be apart for any length of time. Quite obviously to me, it was time to start thinking about next steps. Occasionally, perhaps after a drink or two, I’d invariably joke with Deanna and say ‘marry me’. She would usually say yes, but pointed out that a ring was needed. Also, her nanny was constantly teasing us and asking if we were engaged yet. Something had to be done.

January 2012. Dates are announced for upcoming adventure races, and lo and behold, the Frontier Adventure Challenge was once again on the first weekend of May. Not only that, but it would be held at Deerhurst resort. It was too perfect. 2 years to the day, in the exact same location, we’d be together again, with me racing solo, and Deanna volunteering. It was now my mission to plan the perfect proposal for us. Over the next few months, I turned my attention to acquiring the perfect engagement ring, which ended up being custom made for her. I also sought her father’s blessing on the matter, and spoke to her uncle Bill about perhaps helping on the day by taking pictures. Eventually, this also turned into having her sister and mom at the same place as well, and Deanna’s nanny even coming down the next day for brunch.

All the seeds were sown, and it was now just a matter of timing. I’d only gotten the final ring back a couple days earlier, and had to sneak around numerous times to make sure Deanna didn’t know I had a ring for her. I was now at the mercy of weather and the race. I didn’t want to propose outside in the pouring rain, or have a really bad race where people were grumpy. Luckily, everything worked out perfectly. I had a great race, then proceeded to shower and clean up, and tuck the ring box in my pocket. On the pretext of snapping a few photos in the setting sun near the water where we’d first gotten to know each other two years ago, I convinced her to join me. I set the camera on a tripod, and took a couple photos. I then hit ‘record’ on the camera, got down on one knee, and popped the question.

I got exactly the reaction I’d hoped for, and had totally taken her by surprise. She was so excited to show the ring to her parents. I then asked her “Why do you think they’re here?”. It then dawned on her that this had been orchestrated some time ago. The rest of the weekend it was great to see how giddy and excited Deanna was. We had Sunday brunch with several family members before finally heading home, now as an engaged couple! It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. However, I maintain that the best decision is the one where I decided to text her from Dixie Lee in Barry’s Bay that day two years ago. I could have just let it go and maybe ran into her again in the future, both following different paths, but on that day, in that moment, something truly amazing began, and I can’t wait to see how the rest of this journey unfolds. Deanna, I Love you, and you have made me the happiest man in the world already!

Haven’t seen the proposal yet? Check out the end of the video below for a snippet 🙂

Sneak Peak of Proposal in Video

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