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A retelling of my life in DC and all the stupid ass sh!t I get myself into...

The Proposal

Last night, I proposed to my girlfriend/High School sweetheart/current fiance. There was a lot of prep work, including shopping, scouting, and practicing. I wanted to lay out my timeline while it was still fresh in my mind.

Ring Shopping
I started shopping and looking around in the mall jewelers around the second week of March. I hit every single chain there was and nothing seemed to get me really excited. Well, not every one... I knew I didn't have the money for Tiffany's. Finally, on a recommendation from a friend I went to Charleston Alexander which is an out of the way jeweler. I think they spend a good bit on advertising and what not, but the prices in the store are reasonable. After looking through close to 100 settings at the stores (close to 200-300 if you count online), I finally found one that I liked and we left it at that. Allow me to comment on "one that I like", that means one that is timeless, classic, elegant, with natural flowing lines, and an over all look that the miss' would be able to enjoy for many years to come. A month passed and I started shopping for diamonds to go with the setting. One day, I went in to just try to talk and work a deal, but the next thing we know I made an offer and we had ourselves a deal. Two weeks later, I picked up the most expensive gift I've ever given anyone in my life.

Scouting Locations
After I had started shopping, my brain started spinning about where I was going to ask her. I mean, this is a once in a lifetime chance to make a story you can hopefully tell your grand kids!! I started thinking destinations, then decided against that due to too many schedule conflicts. I started doing research for local spots that would work out online, then started looking at places on foot/by car as I drove around the city. Nothing really seemed to jump out at me until I thought about my favorite touristy place in the city, the FDR Memorial. What can I say, I love lights and waterfalls. I wanted to capture the whole event, so I got a hold of one of my buddy's that's a professional photographer to give me his input. A nice backdrop for the whole thing is key!!

The Dry Run
The time was almost here, so I met with both my photographer and the guy I referred to as the ring runner or ring bearer depending on my mood. Both great guys and both happy to help. I think it's important to know that the miss' has never met the ring runner as that's key to this whole plan. The three of us walked the monument looking for a combination of my favorite spots and what would make for a great back drop for the pictures the next day. I wanted the waterfalls, but that location just proved too loud from all the water and too crowded from all the tourists. And then, we walked down the steps to think on it and the location hit is. Perfect back drop of the monument over the water and some nice trees. To make sure the lighting and angles were right, the photographer had me test ask in position with the ring guy playing the part of the miss'. Those are some funny pix!! But, the spot was all picked out and we marked it with a true trail arrow for the next day.

The Event
First things first, I left work early and met up with the ring runner at McCormix to give him the ring to hold. Why is he holding the ring you might ask? Well, I thought it would be a little obvious if I had a large square bulge. At the bar, I'm able to work out a spot saved for when I come back for some drinks and snacks to start the night. I give him the ring to hold and he guards it with his life as I head home to change for what she's supposed to think is just another date.

We arrive at the bar a few minutes behind my imaginary schedule that I have in my head. But, it's all tentative and all the events are flexible. We sit in the exact same spot where we had our first date in DC. We talk and recap about how glad I am that she looked me up and came to visit. We order a couple of appetizer while the bartender keeps sliding us tasty shots to help us enjoy the evening. I'm not sure how this came up in conversation, but I managed to steal the platinum band she usually wears on one of her fingers to make sure there would be nothing in the way and toss it in my pocket. After some great conversation, and delicious libations we leave the bar and I suggest we go check out some monuments in the city.

A cab picks us up on the corner and takes us over to the FDR memorial. Luckily, I know the way and am able to give the cab driver directions since he's not quite sure of the way. On our way, I send a text to my guys who are waitin for us at the park. Everything is set. The FDR Memorial actually is one of my favorite places, so as we walk and take in the sights and the various quotes on the wall it really was turning into a lovely date. We stop to take pic's with our blackberries since she doesn't know that I have a photographer ghosting the entire evening in the trees. He really was a camera ninja, I knew he was there and couldn't find him!! I bet he's got a few pix of me squinting looking for him in the trees!

As we get to the end of the exhibit we walk hand in hand heading down to the water. She stops to take another picture of what will soon be the back drop of this wonderful moment at dusk. Ironically, she tells me about a valentines day that I coordinated many years ago that went off w/o a hitch that she remembers well. In fact, she's so engrossed in her story and manages to look left at just the right time that she didn't even notice the ring runner hand off the ring to me while we walked. The hand off couldn't have gone smoother. After he passed me, he took up point to work crowd control to keep us from being disturbed by tourists which was an amazing help to keep the pictures of just her and I.

I went traditional on one knee, and then the next few minutes were honestly such a blur that I actually don't remember what I said. Whatever it was, it must have worked b/c she said yes!! We got a few more pix in that location and even more on the way back to the car to head over to RiRa for some congratulations happy houring.

Closing Thoughts
It's been told to me that there are proposals, and then there are proposals. For example, there are romantic proposals on the beach = Love is all we need kind of thing (until we wake up and smell the reality) or money based proposals with the stretch limos and champagne raining from the heavens = I will buy you all you want (if I have money later). I went with with social power and careful planning. To sum up, I had a photographer in the trees, I had a guy that was working crowd control, and I picked one of the most recognizable locations in the world then added water for a more romantic element = The world is my oyster, I am glad you can share it with me. Not to pat myself on the back, but what I wanted to create was a memorable event that I could tell my grand kids about. I think I got exactly what I worked very hard planning and preparing for with a little assistance by some great supporting players.

posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 11:08 AM, ,

She said yes!!

posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 7:45 PM, ,


I didn't write this, I won't even pretend to take credit for it. I mean, read it... that's nothing like how I write. But it is a fun recap of what WNDC is. Well done sir, well done. So, much like a retweet, here ya go:

The bartender cooly swaps another pourer from the latest casualty and knocks it into place on a fresh bottle of vodka. Our group has been here just over an hour, now, propping up the well-worn bar with elbows and torsos, and comfort is setting in. We ignore the cycle of generic, fresh-faced posers, seeking an audience for their faux-casual disdain of everything, and a small knot of cougars nearby, death-gripping youth as tightly as their martinis. The buzz is growing in lock-step with the volume of the room but our conversation still meanders among topics as casually as ever, frequently punctuated by laughter at light-hearted (and decidedly low-brow) jokes. Listeners in the group trade places, picking up chicken wings and themes mid-sentence from our friends with similar ease. A cameraphone photo of an enormous, just-delivered red-bull-&-vodka becomes a summoning call to group members not yet here, or those just in the bathroom.

Ours is not an occasion of celebration or mourning - or even alcoholism, however "dedicated" our barstaff may consider us. We are humble in this "sedate" night out (defined as not drinking the bar dry, getting arrested, or somehow launching a coup in a third-world country) (again), but revel in the fact that even our sedate Wednesdays keep the service staff overworked and MADD members up at night. Like so many birthday celebrants, we insist that whatever number we reach by night's end is only a number - if it matters at all, it won't before tomorrow morning. The slips of receipt paper are our (weekly) birthday cards, foldable reminders of fun gatherings with friends done on a regular interval. Whether the night ends with forced ejections and vibrant carousing or just with sleepy, mumbled bon mots ("You're... so awesome... @sshole!"), we mark the middle of another week with liveliness, merriment, and usually another raised glass.

We are WNDC. We are probably drunk.


posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 10:01 PM, ,


Over the years, I've been to I don't even know how many weddings. I've had dates that I was seeing at the time, just friends, and anything that might fall into an 'other' category. This past weekend, I took the woman that I'm seeing as my date. I had a great time the entire day, and it didn't hurt that we pre-gamed the wedding one bit!! During the reception, it came time for the bride to throw out the bouquet and wouldn't you know it, my date caught it. Now, to me standing by the side lines, she looked like a pro basketball star going for the rebound that would win the game while elbowing all the girls around her with her eye on the prize. When I asked her about it, she very calmly said in her most lady like voice "What? Those other girls can't catch for sh!t!" Ha! Keeper! I can't wait to see the pix from the wedding for this one! So she caught the bouquet… you know, I'm ok with that.


posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 5:14 PM, ,


I've now had my MacBook pro for approx 3 months or so? I just wanted to follow up and say that I still freaking love it!! Best laptop I've ever had. Battery life is amazing, it's still running programs smoothly as hell, and the screen is beautiful. I travel with it when I am TDY, it lives next to my bed daily, and I'm basically on it every day! When a piece of technology exceeds my expectations, you have no idea how happy that makes me. Funny that I should hate the iPhone soooo much while the MacBook pro rocks my world. The iPad… I'm just not sure why I would need such a thing. It's a cool toy, but I'm running a little low on expendable income at the moment. Check back with me after the summer travels are over.

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posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 5:19 PM, ,

Hard Work

While it might not look like it to many of you, I've been working hard on my credit rating and keeping my finances in order. After years and years of hard work and meticulous tracking, I've finally gotten to a place where my credit is decent. Don't get me wrong, it could get better, buuuut when I pulled it today I got the following blurb:

Factors in your credit file indicate you have excellent credit. Lenders will likely offer you the best rates and terms.

It's nice when hard work starts to pay off. Win!


posted by Cptn S.A. Ho @ 11:26 AM, ,