"How to Pop the Question"

By Kris and Leslie

So it was just another adventure in a now yearly weekend gathering at Cobmoosa Shores. No spelling errors, that is actually Cobmoosa (otherwise known as the Holz family cottage in Shelby, MI). Dressler, Schroeder, Hugh, Amy and Maz were picking me up in Chicago to carpool to Bob's--one Blazer, one Golf, a Motor Yacht and a wonderful pooch named Sutton. He really is a great dog. Anyway, to break up an otherwise boring trip, Hughie ran out of gas. Dress and I saved the day.

Somewhere around midnight we arrived in MI, simultaneously with Bob and Christy, Deb and Mich, and Ben and Rog, despite having all left at different times from different locations. We immediately hit the beach to build a bonfire and have a couple beers, before retiring for an early evening as we were all exhausted from our drive.

Period. End of story. The rest of the weekend would follow suit with similar fun but not unusually different experiences as in previous years at Cobmoosa Shores.

First of all, we got there around 10:00 or 10:30, not midnight. This is an important detail, as you (the reader) will find out soon enough. Second of all, this was no ordinary weekend. I had spent the last 4 or 5 months conspiring.

I would like to interject something here. "Conspiring" meant that EVERYONE knew what Dress might be up to. Dress went to a Kiss/Poisin concert over the summer, had just one or two drinks, and decided to tell EVERYONE there, all of our friends, the PLAN. He also told Bob Holz. Bob! Why would you tell BOB! It's a true miracle that Bob managed not to tell me that Dress would like to marry me, before Dress did. So, needless to say anyone Dress had not immediately told, knew shortly thereafter. Including my own sister. I didn't even get to tell my own sister the big news. She already knew. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves here. Back to the plan.

O.K. That's mostly bullshit. I did tell a few of our friends, and I had to tell Bob because the plan involved his cottage. But anyway...

It was planned out beautifully. I bought the ring in June. When I actually purchased the ring, they asked me to sign this little paper stating that I had taken posession of it. "No way," I said. That ring was staying in their store, in their safe until the day before our trip to Michigan.

We went to Bob's place on a Thursday night, and I was planning to "present" the ring on Friday night or Saturday night, whichever seemed right. I didn't want Leslie to discover her ring while rifling through my bag looking for toothpaste (she rarely packs her own), but I also didn't want to lose the ring. Since the focus of the weekend was the beach, I had the ring in the little ring box, wrapped in cellophane, in a Zip-Loc bag safety-pinned to the inside of a zippered pocket of my favorite beach shorts.

Well, we first got there and went down to the beach to have our first nightly fire and a beer or two. Just in case you weren't aware, Platinum melts at over 3,000 C and diamond even higher. Somehow, that damn ring heated up to around 2,999 in my pocket. I had to get it out, and fast.

So I asked Leslie to go for a walk on the beach with me, but she said no! NO? NO! A beautiful, moon-lit, crystal clear night on a squeaky-sand beach in Michigan, and she didn't want to go for a walk?

Why? Why would I want to go wandering off down the beach all mushy and romantic like when there was a huge group of our friends hanging out and drinking beer. I don't even remember him asking if I wanted to go for a walk. Weirdo. Anyway, he finally followed me down the beach when I went to find somewhere to pee. I thought that was pretty weird. But he'd been acting weird for a while anyway. So it was nothing new. As an example of the weirdness, he left the campfire area while we're all hanging out to go shave. SHAVE. What?

Of course, it didn't make sense to her. She didn't know the plan. And the shaving made total sense, I'll explain.

I had to get this thing done so I didn't have to be a nervous wreck for the rest of the weekend. Leslie thin

This "thing"?? What do you mean "thing"? You mean our engagement...this is supposed to be one of the most wonderful, sweet, romantic, important moments in our whole life. And you're calling it a "thing". Ugh!

Before my own computer was ripped out of my hands, I was saying...

Now I don't remember what I was saying....

Oh yeah. Leslie thinks that I have some switch on the back of my head that I can just flip from mood to mood. Like I would think, "We're on vacation, so I should be relaxed and enjoying myself." CLICK "Ahhhh, much better." But I digress.

Leslie was apparently not feeling very romantic that night, so I decided to butter her up a little bit with a few smooches by the campfire. She shoved me away and said something about rubbing 40-grit sandpaper all over her face. Well....if she wants me to shave, I'll go shave. So I did. Deb (who was 6 months pregnant at the time) decided to come back to the cottage a little early. She found me in the bathroom shaving, gave me a funny look and asked if I was O.K. Of course I'm O.K. Can't a guy shave?

I'm sure that Deb took one look at Dress and realized he was nothing but cool, calm and collected.

Well now that I was clean shaven, I went back down to the campfire and commenced buttering. Leslie would have nothing of it. All she wanted to do was hang out around the campfire with our friends. What seemed like hours had gone by, and finally Leslie's bladder had had enough, so she got up to go take a pee. I asked if she wanted to go for out walk now annd

No. Thats not quite how it went. As you can see, there are a few discrepancies in the real story as we both see it. He asked me if I would like some company while I go pee. I think by this point I'd just attributed all weird behavior to the fact that Dress was a little bent out of shape about something. And so I permitted him to come with me. To pee.

There are a lot of scary beasts on the beach that time of year. She just needed an escort.

Well, she answered nature's call and I strong-armed her into going for this walk. I had a plan and I was going to stick to it. Now I had months to figure out how I was going to actually ask the question. For those of you who know Leslie, she is actually blonde in the summer, but she tends to be a little forgetful year 'round. So I often make sure that she doesn't forget that I love her when she leaves the house. For instance: "Have a good day at class, Les. You're not going to forget that I love you, are you?"

Dress is making me sound like a whacked out ditzy, dumb blonde. It's supposed to be this cute little thing he does, where he always asks me if I've forgotten that he loves me. Has nothing to do with lack of memory, being blonde or brunette or anything at all like that.

It's practical and pragmatic. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Well, I was going to find the right spot on the beach, remind her again that I love her, and tell her that maybe she would have an easier time remembering if she had....VOILE...this. Then pop the question.

Perfect plan. Yeah. Except that the ring was tied down, lashed down, bagged up and nearly impossible to get a hold of when the time came. So we're standing there on the beach hugging. He drops one arm. I figure maybe he's got an itch. He drops the other arm. Now I'm just standing there staring at him. Then...he pulls a RING out of his pocket.

I was just getting to that part.

I found the right spot. I'm not the kneeling type, so I found a spot on the beach where the wet sand was about a foot below a sharp ledge of dry sand. I stood on the lower, wet sand and Les was on the ledge. I put my arms around her and went into the reminder spiel. Let me transcribe the neural relays that occured:


"Hand, hand, hand....this is the brain over."


"Hand, hand, hand...this is the brain. Please come in."


"Damnit hand! This is important stuff here. You had better get that ring un-pinned, un-bagged, un-wrapped, un-boxed and up here right now."

At this point the hand got the picture and started fumbling around the pocket. The zipper fell easily enough, but then it got really tricky. It took me 10 minutes and two hands to properly secure the ring, but I didn't really plan the UN-securing all that well.

So, anyway he finally produced the ring, and the question, and I said yes, and the rest is history.

Almost. Except that EVERYONE knew at this point what was going on. So we walk together, hand-in-hand back to the bonfire. Everyone is staring. They all know what is happening. Bob leaps out of the crowd with the most enormous camera I have ever seen (flash and all of course). And Christy has the most enormous bottle of champagne I have ever seen.

So, instead of the evening retiring early, and the rest of the weekend going along normally...WE GOT ENGAGED!!!!!!!!

Now hold it one minute there Chickeepoo. That's not exactly how it went. I did eventually produce the ring, and I did ask her if she would marry me. The response was. "Oh my god, Dress." Pause. "Oh my god." Longer pause. (Now at this point I'm about to lose it.) "Dress." Still more pauses. Then finally, "Yes!"

I told her all about the plan and how carefully I guarded the little secret, except that a couple of people knew about it. Like...everyone back at the campfire.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few thousand for you...


Now, even this picture (below) still needs some explanation. In my stealth and secrecy of the whole operation, I needed to find out what Leslie's ring size was. She only had one ring. I figured at some point, she would take it off to work out, go sailing, something, but no. It never came off her finger. So I asked her friend, teammate, roommate, bridesmaid Nicole Johnston if she knew what size Leslie's NCAA ring was. This was the first of many leaks to my otherwise secret plan. Nicole didn't know, but said she could find out. Nothing. So then every time Les and I would hold hands I would compare her ring-finger metatarsal to one of my digits. I finally concluded that her ring-finger was exactly the same size as my pinky.

Very stealthy plan. But it didn't work. At all. The ring was sized for someone half my size. See evidence below.

Now it turns out that I didn't do all that bad of a job. Leslie, with the ring and her own finger to work with, took three trips to Goodman's Jewelers to get the right size herself. That being said, everyone at Goodman's was incredibly helpful, and we both are very grateful for their help.

We decided that it was best for Leslie not to wear the ring for the rest of the weekend, until she has had one, two or three chances to get it resized.