So, before I continue with the story, you need a bit more background.
About three weeks before, I'd gone to Gmail to register for the email address with my first name and Bart's last name. But it was taken! I was just shocked. First off, Gmail was pretty new and it wasn't yet to the point where you had to do the whole "Janssen4512yjkj54" thing. Second, "Janssen" is not a particularly common name, so for it to be gone pretty much blew me away.
The next day, I mentioned it to Bart who admitted that he'd already registered it a few weeks before.
Well, being the naturally curious (read: "nosy") person I am, I went straight home and opened it up (I knew Bart's password and he'd handily used the same one for "my" email address). To my surprise there were a whole bunch of emails in there - nearly one for every day for the last three weeks. Most of them had some variation of the phrase "Will You Marry Me?" as the subject line.
Now, a normal person might think "hmm, perhaps I should not read these." Not me. I read all but about three of them before realizing, "wait a minute. . . these might be a surprise." I emailed Bart and told him I'd seen most of them (I'll admit, I did not mention that I'd read QUITE as many as I had). He wrote back and said it was no big deal, just a fun little thing he'd been doing. So no harm done.
Anyway, back to the cabin in the snow with Julie and Will traipsing about who knows where. Bart and I wandered around looking at the cabin for a few minutes and then Bart said he needed to go to the bathroom. Of course, since the cabin had been closed for several months, the pipes were all frozen, so he needed to go outside. I stayed inside (where I commenced being a bit freaked out because it was the middle of nowhere and there might be a hobo with a gun hiding in one of the bedrooms).
Then Bart came back in with a big bouquet of flowers (daffodils, because they are my favorite), a box of Girl Scout cookies (mmmm), and a binder. (The need to go to the bathroom was fake, of course, since it was basically the only thing he could say that would convince me to not to go with him).
Now, let me say this - my sister, Merrick, later said she couldn't believe I hadn't guessed at this point he was going to propose, but I really didn't suspect. I mean, I knew the ring wasn't ready, Bart knew I didn't want a public proposal and Julie and Will were there, and the date hadn't even been his idea.
Anyway, Bart handed me the binder and said "I figured since you'd already seen most of these, I might as well give them to you now."
We sat down and started reading through them. I mostly skimmed them since I'd read all but a few of them the week before. The last few were new to me, and when I turned the page to the last one, it said:
"-Dinner at the Tree Room
-Smores and Games at the cabin
-Julie and Will take off
-Read "Will you marry me?" emails
-Kneel down, pull out ring, and propose"
While I was reading that page, Bart did indeed get down on one knee and ask me to marry him.
He said a bunch of really sweet stuff, but frankly, I can't remember it because I was so busy thinking "What?! The ring isn't ready?" and "This is really happening!"
I said yes and he opened the ring box. Upside down. Whoops.
It turned out that he'd gone to the jewelers and asked if he could borrow the ring we'd based mine on. They'd put a little bar on the back so it would size down to my ring size (which is about a 4 1/4) and put a CZ in it (which was good because it fell out twice in the days we had to wait until my real ring was ready).
It also turned out that Julie and Will had waited by their car until Bart snuck out pretending to go to the bathroom, handed off the flowers, ring, and binder to Bart, and then just left. So they didn't come back. Which, whew. No public proposal.
The best part was that Bart had made arrangements to drive down to Las Vegas so we could tell my family in person (while Bart had asked my dad a few weeks earlier, my mom was the only one who knew he was going to propose that weekend so that she would be prepared for us to show up). We spent the weekend in Las Vegas and had a lovely time. And it was so much better than telling my family over the phone.
The worst part was that Bart somehow cracked the display on the front of his new cell phone, which really bummed him out (we just replaced those phones a few months ago and now we have no special remembrance of the big day - oh wait, we still have my ring. We're good).
The funny part was that when I called Julie the next day to tell her, we discovered that she and Will had broken up right after they'd left. She felt bad that he'd paid for her quite expensive dinner at the Tree Room and paid him back for her half. A few weeks later, though, they got back together and ended up getting married two days after we did (a wedding we missed because we were on our honeymoon). They now have a darling baby who we saw for the first time over Christmas break.
Anyway, there you have it. It's been a long time since I told this story (when we were engaged, I got tired of telling the whole story after about two re-tellings and so had shortened it to "We went to dinner and then we went to the cabin and he proposed").