I don't suppose that there is a correct way, nor do I think one way is better than the other. So how about a little smash up?!
Sometime around January 24-26: I spotted a magazine clipping on Emily's desk one day while using her computer. It was an advertisement for a photography competition; it sparked my interest immediately. I figured if I'm not employed full-time right now then I have time to collaborate with Emily and enter this competition. Entries were due on February 15 and the theme was true to the 'Month of Love': What is love to you? Show us in pictures.
'Emily!' I exclaimed, 'We should totally do this. This would be so much fun to do; I've been wanting to help you on a photo shoot. Why not now?!'
She kind of shrugged and said that we could think about it.
Later that evening she asked me if Jeff and I would be interested in being models for said photo competition. 'Sure!' I said with much enthusiasm. 'Well, at least I am. I don't know about Jeff. You know how keen he is on creative ventures like this. But I will ask him; I will do my best to talk him in to it.'
I mentioned it to him later that night while talking to him on the phone. His response went something like: 'She wants us to be MODELS? ME?! Well, she will have to help keep me grounded and not let it all get to my head.' I didn't say much more at that point; I said we could talk about it later. You see, I knew that if I had any hopes of talking him in this sort of fiasco we would need to feed him first.
And Sunday at Red Robin was the place to do just that. He was actually the one who brought it up by asking what exactly was the crazy, hair-brained idea that Emily had cooked up. I was very quick to point out the most positive of positives: it was a free photo session; it would tell our story; and we would have these pictures forever! After only a little more coercion he said he was on board as long as he didn't have to where a dress or anything like that. Noted.
With his blessing I began to think of how exactly would we execute this task. I was not about to do a poor job and lose the competition. But I was having trouble getting into it. That is until Jeff surprised me with the poem that eventually drove the whole thing. He text me on Tuesday night while I was at Bible study and said that he had written a poem for the signs that he figured we were going to use. I was blown away. He too was shocked. Later that night he text me one line at a time. Each line I read out loud to Emily and with each one came a louder, 'Awwwww....how cute is he?!' The last line he said we could come up with and write it together as it was our future that we were talking about.
So for the next couple of days I proceeded with his poem and
fought, ahem, learned how to use my new Cricut that I had gotten for Christmas. And I worked so hard! Emily was helping so much, too, that I felt bad because she wasn't getting any of her stuff done. 'She's doing this for her business,' I kept telling myself. On Wednesday we went and scouted out locations. This was also helpful to her business as we went and looked at two places around the city that she had never seen before.
Saturday came and it was all hands on board. All hands, that is, except for Emily, Jeff, and Jake. Hehe, actually they were all helping a great deal. I was just feeling the heat as we were racing the sun. But we were successful and made it to the park before the sun went down. This is how the photo shoot went:
|'Through a red velvet cupcake|
Good friends they did make'
When I showed up with said cupcake the next morning he just kind of stared at me like I was crazy. It turns out that he walked away from the cook-off thinking that I would not bring him a cupcake the following day. WANTED: A girl who keeps promises. Check!
|'They met at their work|
Where their feelings did lurk'
|'Sparks began to fly|
On the 4th of July'
We have yet to determine on what day to celebrate our dating relationship. Somewhere in our email flirting we began to hang out together some outside of work; usually with other coworkers present. We did semi-date-like hang out on Cinco de Mayo but Jeff doesn't really like to call that a date. We went to one of my favorite band's concerts one night in June. He sat outside and talked with friends while I danced inside the entire night away to the Irish music. Still not really a date. Then on the 4th of July something happened and I knew we had crossed over into the 'dating exclusively' or 'exclusively dating' zone. I can't really tell you why or how I knew but I did. We both did. Thus we now celebrate an 'Anniversary Season', the last two weeks of May through the first two weeks of June. Ha!
|'She then was let go;|
Still their feelings did grow'
On August 2, 2011 I was let go from my job at the company that we were both working at. Since we had not told anyone at the company that we were dating he had to act calm when he found out the bad news. He called me right away and told me that everything would be okay. I was living with my parents at the time but still had little to no spending money. If Jeff wanted to see me he had to put gas in my car so I could even get to his house and pool [I did spend a lot of time there] and he continued to do so just as he continued supporting me in my job search. Looking back I realize how crazy that might have seemed to others looking in from the outside. Here we were, having only dated for about 3 months, but he treated and cared for me as if we had been engaged for 12. I'm so glad he decided to keep me around!
|'New work and great joy|
With love from her boy'
In early November I got the call that we had all been waiting for for about the previous 2.5 years: a job offer at a local architecture & design firm. My first day was November 15 and between my parents, Jeff, and myself I'm not sure who was the most excited. I guess it was all pretty close to a tie!
|'Through thick and through thin,|
One year it had been'
We celebrated our anniversary season in May-June 2012 with dinner, a Dave Matthews concert, and a flower bouquet charm from James Avery. How fast time flies!!!
|'And just as before|
Her job was no more'
Things continued on at a rapid pace; Jeff had already learned that things at my family's house are almost always crazy and never, ever dull. That point was driven home after an eventful Thanksgiving and Christmas season that was punctuated with the determination that my grandparents would be coming to live with my parents for a while. Planning and cleaning out proceeded as you might imagine to prepare for their arrival.
|'With troubles in sight|
In rode her white knight'
No one was prepared for January 14, however. About 25% of my company was laid off that day and I was one of the lucky 7. Not knowing where to turn after leaving the office I went straight to Jeff's house and waited for him to come home from work. When he got there he held me and let me cry it out, telling me that everything would okay and reminding me that we had gotten through this one before already.
Side note: When Jeff sent me the lines in this part of the poem I literally cracked up and 'LOL'ed. Not funny but so true!
This is the part of the photo shoot that I was not looking forward to: the last and final sign. We weren't able to come up with anything cute and rhyme-y for the last sign. Both Jeff and Emily had suggested 'To be continued...' as the best alternative given our time crunch. This DID NOT make me happy and I literally sat in the corner and pouted for a little while on Saturday morning as they continued working on the remaining signs. 'Nothing is cute about 'To be continued...' in this application. I like it for anything else but unless you can come up with something that rhymes with 'Continued' I don't want it.' I lost that battle and a 'To be continued...' was hastily adhered to the last and final sign.
But alas it didn't matter. Everyone and their mom [aside from myself] knew that it didn't matter at all what I came up with to put on that sign as it would not even make the trip to the park with us. With every photo that we took Emily would take me to a new spot and try out different angles and lighting positions. I ended up with a fabulous portfolio of portraits and model shots as she tried her best to keep my busy and from looking around at what was actually about to happen. And she pulled out all the stops for this last shot. I was flipping my hair, signing, blowing kisses, taking pictures with her, and the works while the guys got everything ready. This is a little of it shown here. Jeff said he literally just stood their laughing at me for several minutes, waiting for me to stop posing for the camera.
I didn't even look down when Jeff walked up and handed me my end of the sign. I just yelled at Emily and asked her what she thought we should do as far as posing for the shot. When Jeff told me that I should read the sign I told him that I knew what the sign was and reminded him that this was the one that I was not happy about. He patiently asked me again so I did. I realized that it had too many words on it to say 'To be continued...' just as my eyes caught sight of a bright flashing object in his hands. He kept asking me to read the sign and I kept asking, 'What is that?!'
'Now all but her knows
That her knight will propose'
At this point I still had no idea what the sign actually said even though I had 'read' it twice now. I only knew that Jeff was down on one knee and saying something. I assumed he was asking me to marry him and I hope that I said 'Yes'. [I did check and I did in fact say Yes!] I think my actions that followed enforced that decision, though :)
|Throw the sign down.|
|Thank you, Emily!|
Producer & Director: Jeff P.
Set Design & Wardrobe Consultant: Ellen K.
Camera 1, Film, & Editor: Emily K.
Assistant to Director & Camera 1: Jake R.