34. Limbo

More lists.  

Once the decision was made to move forward with this new employment opportunity, a series of events had to be set in motion.  I made list after list of the things that I knew that needed to be taken care of, including quitting my job, selling my house, and figuring out how to combine Nook’s life into my own, not to mention the big puzzle of where and when that would take place.

It was early days yet, but, Nook had a rental agreement on the flat that she was living in that was going to be tricky to get out of before the end of the year.

She also had two jobs, and a house full of “stuff” that needed taking care of.

I too had much to think about for the planning on moving and the timing of it....but I also knew that nothing could happen until I had signed paperwork from my new employer in front of me.  I wasn’t going to make any announcements or major plans until that was completed.

Easier said than done.

But we’ll come back to that in a bit.

The month of June, and a few of the months after, would end up being full of these odd senses of being in Limbo for me.  Waiting to make the next big bold step, but being unable to, as I was dependent upon the actions of others.  My patience was going to be tried, beyond all expectation...



I probably should have included this sub-chapter a bit earlier, but those weeks after my trip to Nook in April were intense and needed describing on their own.  Forgive this minor regression in the story line, if you will.

After Nook and I spent the evening looking at engagement rings on the Internet from the sofa in her house, I knew we were on the same page for our future.  I also knew that I was not going to waste a single second of my life dithering about this.  Nook and I had waited long enough to be together and there was no way we were going to waste time.

So the day after I returned from my birthday trip, I looked up on Google to see if Tiffany & Co. had a shop in Amsterdam.  They did.  And I knew exactly where it would be based upon their address.

Still full of jetlag, I hopped on a tram, got to Tiffany, and confidently walked in to the shop.

I knew what I was after, and I went straight for the engagement rings.  They had precisely one of the Novo engagement rings in stock, and it was a stunner.  Sparkly beyond belief.  A gorgeous stone and beautiful setting - exactly like the one on the website:



I asked to see it, and like no doubt countless men who have been in Tiffany & Co before me, I couldn’t help but share a bit of Our Story with the staff.  I think it is fair to say that they’ve never heard one quite like it, and once I told them about this website, they all wanted the address and promised to check back for updates.

I knew it was the ring for Nook.  It sang.  It was Sparkly, it was glorious.

It was also the price of a medium sized car.

But that would not deter me.  I immediately paid a deposit and promised to be back after my trip to Australia to pay the balance.

I left Tiffany that day not with a Little Blue Bag (for which they are so famous) but with a Little Blue Receipt Envelope, which denoted the first of several payments that I’d be making for Sparkly.

Before my trip to Australia I had asked Nook to double-verify her ring size.  Not for what I might buy in Oz, but, to make sure that when I came back and made the final payment on Sparkly (yes, this is what we call her ring) that it would be properly sized.

When I returned I went to Tiffany & Co and made the final payment and sent the ring off for sizing.  I wanted this to be perfect.


A shared secret.

The next week I had arranged to have a phone call with Nook’s parents.  I had yet to meet them, and the pace of the relationship that taken meant that it was important that I be as open and accessible to them as humanly possible.

Nook and I were hoping to make a trip out to visit them in the coming weeks or months, but it wasn’t clear when that would be, due to this new job of mine, her jobs, and the minimal amount of time off she had between them.

So I felt it was time to take a bit of a gamble with her parents.  I explained my feelings for Nook, and how much she meant to me, and the fact that neither of us wanted to dilly-dally with our future.  I told her father, and her mother, that it was my intention to propose to her in July, when she was going to visit me (just about a month away from the phone call).

I told them I’d already got the ring, and was working on sizing it.  I also said that since she was their daughter, it was entirely up to them if they shared this fact with her, but I said that I’d appreciate it if they did not tell her, as, well, yeah, this is a big moment and I think the element of surprise is something that really makes the moment special.

I left it with them, they could tell her or not, it would not change my plans...but, I think they could tell how in love with each other we were and they both were willing to give me the benefit of the doubt.  Quite a vote of confidence this was, in me, in us.

Think about it from their point of view.  For many years they knew their daughter to be on a particular relationship path.  One particular person that they anticipated would be her husband.  The wedding was approaching, a dress purchased...then, the week of the bridal shower she tells them that not only is the wedding off due to a history of problems in the relationship, but there was someone new in her life, someone whom she really knew was going to be her future.

A much older man, living in a foreign country, that she knew primarily from the Internet.

It’s tough to grasp, even for those of us who are familiar with the technology and how this can help us feel close to people who are far away.

So, if you are reading this, Nook’s parents, thank you so much for trusting in me to allow me that Element of Surprise...