Now that you know who I am and what I do… I can get to the fun stuff!
This is a long one, so hang in there! I promise to keep them shorter from now on!
On February 2, 2011 at 3am I met my colleagues Sam and Shawna to head to the Pittsburgh International Airport. We were headed to Tampa, FL for the Association for Student Conduct Administration Annual Conference at the Tradewinds Resort in St. Pete Beach. Other than it being the first big conference that any of us had ever attended, we were excited for another reason. After the conference we were all taking two vacation days to drive up to Orlando, and visit Walt Disney World! Sam’s sister, Meredith, works there and we could go to the parks with her for free! Even better… Sam’s family has a share in the Disney vacation club, and were letting us stay in a Deluxe Villa for free! Shawna had never been to Disney, so Sam and I were super excited to share the experience with her!
Now, back at home Kevin was JEALOUS! Disney World is his favorite place on the planet, and he wasn’t getting to go. Kevin is a CPA, and February starts ‘the busy season’ for him. Vacation to come too just wasn’t an option. We had just gone to Disney over the Thanksgiving holiday, and it had been my first time there. Love at first sight… or um… visit. We got to see every park, I had my choice of attractions, and even had Thanksgiving Dinner with all of the Princesses in Cinderella’s Castle! (Kevin really… really… over does special occasions, but you won’t hear me complain!) Disney had become a theme for us! We had even discussed a wedding at Disney World, and after looking at the website I was in love with the Wedding Pavilion. Even though he was pretty salty about me going, he said “if you go to the Wedding Pavilion and take a picture I will propose to you in a month.”
That sounds like a weird thing to say, but not for us!
I had been pestering Kevin to just propose to me for years! We moved pretty quickly when we started dating, and talked about marriage about a year into our relationship. I knew that I would eventually marry him… it was just a matter of when. The when part kind of ebbed and flowed for me. One month I would drive Kevin crazy, and the next I would say “I am in no rush to get married.” I also had been quoted saying, “You don’t actually have to have intent to marry me right now… I just really want a ring.” The problem with that was that when we first looked at rings a year or so into our relationship I knew nothing about rings! I didn’t have much of a concept for quality or what any given ring would cost. The first ring I pointed to happened to be $44,000.00 …oops. Doing something like that (even out of ignorance) kind of sets a precedent that is hard to top.
I also made all of these crazy requirements when it came to “the best day of my life” and how I would become engaged. To me it was the epitome of deciding to spend your life with someone, even if we had already promised one another that we would do so. I wanted to be proposed to on a beach. (I love any beach! Maybe I thought that since we vacationed to beaches often it would make it happen sooner?)
A year or so later I wanted it to happen in the snow. Later, I said that I wanted it to happen at the Charlie Brown Christmas light display in Oglebay Park back in Kevin’s hometown of Wheeling, WV. (My love for Charlie Brown had also been a holiday theme for us when it came to gifts, cards, surprises, and etc.)
When we were in Florida in November we visited the Harry Potter world at Universal Studios. This was a few days after watching the first part of the 7th movie, and I was fixated on The Elder Wand. I said, “Kevin, if you want to propose to me now you won’t even need a ring… just get me a wand.”
He asked if I wanted Harry Potter’s wand, and I said: “No, it wouldn’t pick me… Dumbledore’s wand would since it is The Elder Wand, and obviously I tend to be superior.”
I kinda made this whole proposal thing impossible, huh?
He would just always say: “I have a plan.”
Given his thoughtfulness, and prior holidays… I believed him.
…So back to the conference! Travel went well minus Shawna being sick. When we got to the resort, and started to settle in I found a Charlie Brown snow- globe that Kevin had snuck into my suitcase! It was a nice reminder of home, and a very thoughtful gift! (When I found it I told Sam and Shawna that we absolutely had to go to the Wedding Pavilion!) We got to meet another colleague from home, Mel, and have her show us the ropes. (She’s been to this conference many times, and even served on some of the boards within ASCA!) The week went well, and we all learned a lot! There were after hours receptions, mixers, and banquets… we were so busy trying to do everything that we didn’t even see the beach until the third day! We were all functioning on little sleep! On our last day (Sat. the 5th) there was a giant banquet to end the evening, and the conference. We had a wonderful meal, great time with the new people we had met, and a ‘bonding session’ that kept us up until after 5am!
When you went to bed at 5:00am, a 6:30am wakeup call sure comes early! I looked at my phone and already had a message from Kevin: “Hey, pal. I hope your evening was fun! Have a safe trip to Disney. Let me know when ur up & on the road.” I messaged him back to let him know I had gotten little sleep, I missed him, asked about how the pets were, and asked why he was up so early. He didn’t text back immediately, I assumed he went back to sleep, and I hopped in the shower. As I went to step out of the shower…I fell…hard.
I landed outside the shower on the floor with my lower body on my side (right leg still in the tub), and my torso twisted to face the floor with both palms down. As I had fallen, my shoulder hit the towel rack so hard that it knocked it right off the wall! Shawna was in her bedroom with the door shut, Sam was in her bedroom with the door shut (both likely in a pretty deep sleep since we had been in bed about an hour), I was in the main bathroom with the door shut and the ventilation fan on, and they still heard me fall! It wasn’t embarrassing at all to explain to my colleagues that I had just slipped and fallen out of the shower! (not to mention I was still naked!)
I decided that I was fine, and started to get ready. I checked my phone… nothing from Kevin, so I typed him a text message that read: “I just broke my leg.” As I proceeded to brush my teeth I became dizzy, and realized that my text message might not be just sarcastic. I looked down and my leg was already very swollen and bruising. Since everyone had already had a nice wakeup call, I yelled out “Hey, guys, I don’t think I’m okay. I think I may have hurt my leg more than I thought.” They asked me to go sit on the bed, and (yes… still wearing nothing but a towel) began examining my leg like real doctors! Something that I probably should tell you now is that crazy injuries and illnesses is sort of my thing, so no one was surprised that this happened.
I said ,“Wow. Only me.”
To which they both replied “Yup.”
This is where you, as the reader, start to get parallel stories:
We decided that I needed to go to the hospital, and began making arrangements.
What I don’t know at this point is: Kevin had planned with them to get me to the Wedding Pavilion so that he could propose to me there.
I called my friend, Robin, since we have the same health insurance to see what I should do. She was in on the proposal plans as well, but an injured leg is an injured leg. We decided I would go to an urgent care facility. Unfortunately, the one closest to our resort sounded sketchy… so I decide to prop and ice my leg and wait for a Dr. in Orlando.
I sent Kevin a message that read:
“I am okay, but I hurt my leg. We are going to the hospital.”
That was the last message that Kevin received before having to turn off his phone, since he had already boarded a flight to Orlando.
We set out at least an hour late on the adventure to Orlando, checked out of the resort, went back to the Tampa airport, returned our rental car from the previous week, got a new rental car, and had to stop for breakfast at McDonald’s. (Hey, I’m mean when I don’t eat.) I called my mom to tell her we were on the road, and I updated my facebook status via phone to:
“Headed to Disney World for the Superbowl! (After a short pit stop at urgent care to have my leg x-rayed.) Luckily, it isn’t a long trip from Tampa!”
After my staff (many of them were also in on the secret) saw the post, they began messaging Kevin. After I called my mom (she knew because Kevin had gone to visit my parents to show them the ring, and tell them the plan), she started trying to reach Kevin to let him know.
Since I had already talked to Robin she was trying to call Kevin.
After a flight that must have seemed like forever after news like that, Kevin turned his phone on to find countless text messages and voicemails trying to help him out.
We got to Orlando, and went straight to the Urgent Care/Hospital. I had a series of x-rays, and was waiting to meet with the Doctor. Sam and Shawna kept texting me to ask how it was going, and I messaged them back apologizing for ruining their first day at Disney. I told them about the shuttle system that the hospital had, and said that I could get back to the room on my own if they wanted to go ahead and meet Meredith to get to the parks.
Turns out, they were asking because Kevin was in the waiting room with them. They were all amused at the fact that I was mass texting them all the exact same updates!
After finding out that nothing was broken, I negotiated with the doctor to avoid an air cast. (Those boots gross me out!) I agreed to use a wheelchair in the parks, crutches when en route, a knee brace, an ankle brace, an ace-bandage, and a prescription pain medicine. It looked like we were finally on our way! We were literally a 2 minute drive to Saratoga Springs Resort, where we were staying. When we got there, the girls said that I needed to go see The Carriage House. I complained the entire way there, as I’ve never had crutches before this… and it’s just kind of what I do. Once in The Carriage House, they sat me on the main bench and proceeded to check in. A front desk attendant felt so sorry for me that she gave me a purple tiara. I jokingly put it on. As they’re getting everything in order, I noticed a man out of the corner of my eye that decided to sit really close to me on the bench. I thought ‘What the heck is this creeper doing… of all the places to sit’ and reached for my crutches with intention to move.
The man sitting across my crutches from me was Kevin! I was shocked! I said “Um, I just sent you a message.” I thought that he had decided to surprise me by taking vacation to spend the time in Disney. I gestured to my propped leg said, “I’m okay, that isn’t why you came… right?”
As he was standing up he said: “No, I wanted to talk to you.”
His hand was shaking as he put it into his jacket pocket, and pulled out that little black box.
I just kept saying “OH. MY. GOD.” over and over as he knelt down (dodging the crutches well, I might add)
Tears filled my eyes so much that he was just a blob in front of me, and it sounded like he was a world away as he said:
“I’ve always had a plan, Amy, and that was to spend the rest of my life with you. Granted, this piece was not part of the plan, but I can’t imagine not having you. Will you marry me?”
I could hear people all around gasping and telling others to ‘ssshhh’. I couldn’t say yes because by this point: I’m sobbing. I had always envisioned that I would shed a tear or two of happiness… but I had not planned to weep… Then again, I hadn’t planned to fall out of the shower and miss my scheduled engagement. Life happens.
I attempted a nod and he said, “Okay, look at the ring now. Put it on.”
I was trying my hardest to see, but still couldn’t. I tried to help him put the ring on my finger, but my hands were shaking so much that a hoola-hoop would have had trouble getting on my hand!
As I finally began to get the tears cleared I realized that people all around were clapping, and many were even crying too! Kevin helped me stand to hug him, and I managed “I love you” but my face was hidden in his chest so deeply that I doubt he heard. I was in shock, and as I sat back down Shawna yelled:
“I’m glad you look like trash right now!”
… and that’s when I realized that I had a not brushed ponytail, no makeup, was wearing sweatpants that were rolled up to allow for the braces on my legs, the purple tiara, and newly swollen red eyes. Man, was I a looker, but I was the luckiest girl on earth.
I was supposed to get engaged at the Wedding Pavilion on the beach by the Polynesian Resort. I had the Charlie Brown snow-globe… so that there was snow and Charlie Brown… and as Kevin loaded me into the Mustang GT v8 convertible that he had rented (I think that was mostly for him!) he presented me with The Elder Wand. He had a CD playing of songs that were special to us, and he took the time to sing to me as I fumbled through new tears to put on my seatbelt.
“I’m forever yours… faithfully.”
He told me of his trip to see my parents, and how when he left their house my dad shook his hand.
Once I got my vision back this time, he told me that he had to fly back to Pittsburgh that night. He said that he wanted to take us all to dinner before he left, so we were going to Mama Melrose’s in Hollywood Studios. I said that I wanted to go home too, but he insisted that I stay. I tried calling Southwest to change my flight, but the cost would be an additional $300.00 over and above what the ticket for my original flight already cost. It was decided: I was staying at the most magical place on earth… without my fiancé.
Turns out though, I had a blast that next day even though I was in a wheelchair the entire time! As we watched the ‘Wishes’ fireworks show to bring the trip to an end I sat there staring at the castle… I realized that I had found my true Prince that made me a Princess, and I was about to plan my Happily Ever After…
Thank you for letting me share my story with you,
and I look forward to sharing the wedding planning too!
Photos from the actual proposal: