Saturday, April 02, 2005

N 43° 59.509 W 088° 32.082

Saturday, April 2nd. Meg and I have spent the night in Waukesha with Joe and Andrew. She’s got a class to teach for First Stage in Hartford, but needs to pick up some t-shirts in Milwaukee first. So we head downtown to the new Milwaukee Youth Arts Center—which is very impressive and should serve the arts community and the children and families of southeastern Wisconsin extremely well for years to come. A short while later, we’re loading t-shirts in the Matrix and hitting the road. We have to swing by West Bend so Meg can drop me off at my car. (Meg often meets me at work on Fridays so we can head to Milwaukee together.)

We get to West Bend with about an hour until Meg has to be on the road to Hartford. We’re looking for a place to have lunch and decide to try a new restaurant in town, something with a 50 states theme. Our table taught us about Kentucky and Tennessee. It was the second time in as many weeks that we’ve tried a recently opened restaurant, and I’ve decided that in the future I’m going to let a new place take a couple months to get on their feet before visiting. Hint: if you walk in the door and see five employees hanging around the host’s area looking like they’re not sure what to do, you’re in trouble. The food was very good, though. Great burgers. During lunch, we’d briefly discussed how to spend the afternoon. It was a [relatively] nice day and we thought it’d be good to take a walk or do some geocaching. She didn’t know it, but she was already starting to play right into my hands. (Insert diabolical nemesis musing gestures here.)

Meg drops me at my car and heads out. I desperately need fuel, so I pay the $2.35 a gallon and head north. I know Megan’s not going to get home for about three hours, so I cruise straight up to Appleton where her ring is waiting to be picked up. Unbeknownst to Megan, I had spent the previous Friday afternoon selecting the diamond and buying the ring. Rushing back to Oshkosh, I’m itching to lay out the proposal scheme.

I get the exact coordinates of the place I want to propose to her and put together notes for a fictional cache at that location. It’s conveniently near our apartment and in proximity to another cache. It’s a safe bet if left up to her, she’ll pick this one to find today. I pepper the notes with puns and esoteric meaning. ‘Cause that’s my style, baby.

The trap is set.

She gives me a call from the road as she’s heading home. Am I going out? Can I pick up a couple things at the grocery store? Sure. I really do need to get my oil changed, so I might as well do that now. Before that, though, I’ve got a couple calls to make. Number one: the Links. I talk to Julie and let her know my intentions. Her advice: have smelling salts ready and make sure she’s sitting down. Call two: my folks. I talk to Mom and let her know what’s going on, too. Then it’s oil change, skip the grocery store because Megan’s almost in town so she’ll stop there, and back home.

“You want to do some geocaching this afternoon?”

“Sure,” she says.

“OK. I’ll go find some in the area that we haven’t logged yet.”

I collect notes on seven caches, including the fictional one. The plans begin to fall into place. We’ll go with George and Ona to the art walk. Maybe see a late movie. Before all that, though, we could get in at least a couple caches before it gets dark.

“Which ones do you want to do?”

“I don’t care,” I shrug.

“Why don’t we do those couple by Ardy & Eds?”

“OK.” (Excellent. Everything is going according to plan.)

I’m at the helm of the Matrix as Megan mans the eTrex and navigates us to the right location. It’s a small park—not so much a park as a boat landing with a small breakwater made of slabs of rock with a path along it and a few small trees. The coordinates seem to be pointing us out into the lake. Hmmm… maybe if we walk out onto the breakwater it’ll be closer. The GPS leads us to the northeastern corner, out onto the rocks. Well, it must be here somewhere… I get on my hands and knees to look under a couple rocks while Meg turns around, looking at the eTrex.

“Megan, come here!”

“Did you find it?”

“No… Megan, will you marry me?”

And the rest is history.


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