On Saturday morning, I asked Steph if she would consider becoming my wife. I had wanted to ask her for weeks, and had, for several months been racking my brain to come up with a novel way to propose to her. Despite having had two unsuccessful marriages in the past, I am still a believer in the institution of marriage and I am an old fashioned romantic, albeit somewhat jaded. So trying to think of something that I could do that would amuse her and that would be original was difficult. After months of thinking about it, I finally had an idea: I would spell out my proposal on a Scrabble board during a game of Scrabble! We play Scrabble quite a bit and enjoy it a lot, so this seemed like the perfect way to propose. I probably should have tested it first to see if the words would actually intersect properly, but I didn't.
Anyway, I soon asked Steph if she would fancy a game of Scrabble. She said no thanks. I would ask her three of four times over the next several weeks and each time she would say that she wasn't really feeling it. So finally on Saturday morning I took out the Scrabble board and opened it up and said to Steph, "I just want to see something for a minute". Then I started arranging the tiles on the board to spell "Will you Marry Me". Unfortunately, the word "will"does not join up with any of the others so I said "Damn it doesn't work!". Steph said " What doesn't?". So I gently pushed the board towards her and said "this". She read it and her jaw dropped and then she said " are you? asking me to marry you?" to which I said "yes, will you?". She said she would think about it. Then I got down on both knees and told her that she was my best friend, that she brings immense joy to my life, that I couldn't imagine life without her and that I love her with all my heart. She teared up and said "yes!!".
It is the third time I have proposed marriage to someone, but I know this time it will work. The other two times I was young: 25 and 33 and had not fully matured. The implication of that lack of maturity was that I didn't know myself well enough to know what I could love and what I couldn't. Like most young people, my love was based on how the other person made me feel and less on who that person was. In Steph's case, there is no doubt in my mind that I love this woman - matter how she makes me feel. She is just a good, solid, kind and loving human being. She doesn't see it of course, and that kind of humility only makes her all the more appealing.
I met Steph at one of the lowest points in my adult life. I had just moved out of my matrimonial home into an apartment in North York with nothing but my stamps and a few random pieces of furniture. I had to go shopping at Ikea to acquire the remainder of my basic furniture. I was traumatized by the abuses I had suffered during my marriage, even though I was far from a perfect husband myself. I was about 98% sure that I was done with dating. Despite that, I knew I had to meet people, so I joined a number of meetup groups, one of which was for lovers of craft beer. As I attended the meetups my perception was strengthened - particularly when I attended the events for the over 40's. My god, there was more baggage there than at Toronto Pearson! People were so guarded. Then one night on February 2, 2013 I went out for my first and only beer lover's meetup at a bar called C'est What? I had been circulating and meeting quite a few people that night when I noticed Steph and her friend. The funny thing is Steph doesn't even drink. She was there to act as the DD for her friend. We met and talked for the rest of the evening and exchanged phone numbers.
From that point on, I thought about her a lot, but not in the obsessive way that I did with many of my love interests when I was younger. My interest in her was intense, but it was much healthier. I called her each week and we met 2 times a week for about a month before we realized that we had a mutual attraction that went beyond friendship. This was the first time in my life that I can honestly say that I wanted someone in my life, no matter in what capacity. If she had just wanted to be friends, I would have been disappointed, but I would have accepted that. She was just too good of a person not to have in my life on some level. I had never felt that way about anyone before.
Steph made me laugh and showed me that I could indeed be loved for myself. She has been so completely accepting of me and all of my quirks and idiosyncrasies. I believe that she knows me better than I know myself sometimes. She is selfless to a fault. I have watched her be a model friends to everyone in her life, and a wonderful daughter to her parents. I started to see the possibility of starting life anew and soon, I felt a renewed hope.
Thanks to Steph, I was able to walk away from a potentially costly divorce by offering my ex far more than her fair share. I was able to see that as an investment in my new life with Steph rather than as a loss that would leave me bitter. It was Steph who suggested to me that I could make a living full time in stamps. It was Steph who took all of the pressure off of me financially by telling me that she didn't care how much or how little money I made - my happiness was more important to her than money. This was the first time that I felt like I had permission to leave my position as partner of a mid sized accounting firm behind. It was Steph who made it possible for me to accumulate my considerable stock over the last two and half years by being a frugal partner and not demanding a constant stream of expensive gifts, trips away and the like.
She is a truly outstanding human being. That's really all there is to it. I want to be here for her. I want to show her that she really can achieve her dream of being a full time comedian.
So we are looking at a wedding in October next year, or possibly the spring of 2017. Very exciting times ahead!
Today, I expect to finish sorting the Queen Elizabeth II definitives in preparation for the listings to Christmas. Then I can spend the rest of the week trying to finish the Queen Victoria material. I wanted to show you some examples of the stamps that I am referring to though. They make for an interesting study: