I’m happy to announce Ray Ray and I are officially engaged! It happened back on July 27th in our dining room after weeks of failed attempts. Oh yes, dear reader. There is a story.

I purchased the ring a few months ago while back in the States. I used a close family connection to a wonderful jeweler in New York who took great care of me from top to bottom. His name is Steve Piazza and he is Brooklyn through and through. Aside from being an ace jeweler, it turns out he is ultra-close friends with a family from my neighborhood back in Connecticut. In fact, my sister used to babysit for the family to the point where she almost became a live-in nanny. The fact that my brother-in-law, through his network, was paired with Steve, and that they discovered the connection during the course of Andy’s ring shopping back in 2003, adds one more has mark in the “something bigger may be at play” column.

Ring in hand, or at least in my briefcase, I made my way back to the island. But when to propose? My first thought was to do it at the embassy’s annual 4th of July celebration. The night includes a magnificent fireworks display and I thought that might be a great time to get down on one knee. Yes, we’d be surrounded by 1200 people, but a little cheering never hurt, right?

It was a great plan. Until we arrived and I realized I forgot the ring in the rush to get out the door. Plus Ray Ray had to work a lot that night so it wasn’t quite the right moment.

My second attempt came only a few days later. At the embassy event we met a local patron of the arts and community organizer who has run an arts house (think paintings, concerts, theatre) in Santo Domingo. He apparently knows just about everyone and is seen as the unofficial mayor of Santo Domingo. He invited us to see a display of local painters that following Saturday.

My plan was to weave the gallery viewing in to a longer day of casually strolling the Zona Colonial. It has countless nooks and crannies with architecture and fixtures going back centuries. At any moment you could turn a corner, find yourself alone in a small square with a picturesque fountain and voilà!

A particular moment arrived as we walked strolled but Ray Ray had an uncomfortable look on her face. She was coming down with a head cold and informed me she just wanted “to go home, put on my yoga pants and lay on the couch.”

Strike two.

Two weeks passed with me away presenting at a conference and us traveling to Florida for a friend’s wedding. By the time we were back at home, I decided that come hell or high water, I was proposing damnit! Ray Ray raised the idea of going to dinner at a local Argentine steakhouse. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to do the whole “propose at dinner” thing. However, Ray Ray also noted we literally went food shopping that morning and that maybe we should just make dinner and have a night in. Fine. Whatever we did, the night was going to end with that ring on her finger.

We went about the day like a normal Saturday. We cleaned the apartment. One of us worked out. (Hint: it wasn’t me.) And then finally it was time for dinner. I hid the ring box in a hutch next to the dining room table during the fore mentioned workout so all that was necessary was the right moment.

As dinner progressed I saw no openings. The conversation just wasn’t going in *that* direction. So I steered it in *that* direction, just as Billie Holiday’s “Stars Fell on Alabama” started playing in the background. I don’t recall exactly what I said, but I set myself up to coolly reach over to the hutch and take out the ring box and place it on the table. Ray Ray looked at me quizzically.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“What do you think it is?” I responded.

She gasped.

I opened the box, and she responded:

“Holy $%@!!!”

Exactly the response every man wants to hear.

I got down on one knee, placed the ring on her finger, and she said yes.

Not exactly how I drew it up the first time. Or the second. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: intention makes everything happen.




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