Tonight, it's 63 degrees at 3 a.m. and I've got my windows open.
Oh, yeah... and it's JANUARY.
If this is the craziness that the first 20 days provides, what will the next 11 months be like?
Have photos developed.
Buy a new scrub brush for the kitchen sink.
Renew my truck tags.
So, I guess they weren't all ordinary.
During our mini-vacation in August, Jessie & I were in a mall about an hour outside of Franklin. Although we'd talked in generalties about one day marrying, we'd never had a serious discussion about engagement rings. I warmed up to the idea of being in a jewelry store with her by walking through one. We didn't stop, mind you. We walked through. I was all about the baby steps.
Before the trip was over, I think we'd visited a half-dozen stores and actually looked at jewelry in some. If you want to see an uncomfortable Fletch, you should have seen me during our first real visit. Wow. There's a worn spot in the carpet. Those chairs they have for you in front of the display case? Those aren't for me, thank you very much. I know it's just gold and diamonds and such... They'll only break you, not kill you. But I was uncomfortable and I think everyone knew it. By the time of our last store visit, I may have even asked a question or two. It was quite the progression in a short amount of time.
A smarter man would have been taking detailed notes, but I thought I could keep up with everything in my head. I'm a fool, I tell you. You can get lost talking about cut and clarity while yellow gold and white gold and platinum settings sparkle in your eyes. Of course, it was easy to know what I wasn't going to buy -- the $18,000 ring she pulled from one case at a high-end store. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to love anyone that much -- at least not on a firefighter's salary.
Jessie found a ring in that first store -- the one where I paced as she, I and engagement rings were all in the same room together. In my one brief moment of clarity, I had the manager write down specs for it. I figured that one day many years from now, I might need such information. The card was tucked away into the rarely used section of my wallet with the likes of my social security card and the instructions for remotly operating my answering machine. As it turns out, I haven't seen a ring I like quite as well as that first one. So, getting the specs was genius, I tell you. All hail me.
Months passed and our relationship looked rocky and then it looked good. Finally, I had my moment of clarity and I thought about that ring we'd seen in August. I knew that I'd liked it at the time, but I had no memory of what it looked like. Last Tuesday, I ventured across town to one of the jeweler's stores to see if they could make sense of the stock numbers written down and if they could refresh my memory a bit. As it turns out, the manager of the store had written only part of the inventory number down, so the local folks couldn't help me.
Thursday, I hit the road and drove the hour back to the store where it all began. I had no intention of making any purchase. First of all, I needed more time to pad my savings account so that I wouldn't weep at the site of a jewelry bill. Second of all, walking in and dropping a few thousand -- even if it's on a payment plan -- isn't my style. I like to look, think, look again, think again. Hell, you read this journal -- you know how I operate. Jessie & I have been at this for years. I rarely move quickly on the big decisions.
When I handed the numbers to the sales clerk, she found the ring almost instantly. Although I couldn't have described it 30 minutes prior, it was suddenly just as beautiful as it was when I first saw it. Even though there were thousands of dollars involved, I felt overwhelming calm. I took that as a bit of a sign. And then, the sales clerk did what sales clerks do. And this one was very good at what she does. In addition to the standard 25% mark down, she put 10% more savings out there. Then, she waved the interest free payment plan in front of me. She reminded me how well it sparkled and how well it was designed. She overlooked the cons and promoted the pros. Wow.
The only person in the world that knew I was on this mission was a guy from work. I had a big decision in front of me and I was choosing to do it without any qualified advice -- risky, but exciting. Even though I had quite a bit at stake, this was how I wanted to do it. I wanted to get the ring myself. It was going to be a gift from me, afterall. I called up my buddy and talked to him for a bit. He told me to go for it... but, again, he's no jewelry dealer. To put added pressure on me, he put his wife on the phone. Only knowing that we were talking about Jessie and not specifically about engagement rings, she gave me some important advice.
"She tries to make your mom's gravy. What other girl is going to do that for you?"
It was a joke... but it was enough to make me walk back into the store and buy that ring. The hot girl walking past with the nice ass and big boobs? She was great to look at, but she was not going to make my mom's gravy. She wasn't going to stand beside me on everything I do. She wasn't going to last longer than any other friend I've ever had. No, there was only one person that met those specs... And she's the one that deserves this ring.