Picking up the long weekend wedding story where I left off yesterday, we jumped in the car at 8:30 Saturday morning – a half hour behind schedule – and headed down to the border.

I tried to snooze but I was far too excited, and going crazy because Richard was texting the whole way. I got peeved at him so Richard fed me a story about texting because it was his co-worker Andrew on work stuff, and he didn’t want to talk to him. As we reached the end of the Coquihalla, Andrew phoned twice (or so it seemed) and Richard was very abrupt and angry with him. On Monday night, he confessed that it wasn’t Andrew who was texting, it was everybody coming to the surprise birthday party, and he didn’t want them to know we were en route somewhere, or me to know they were calling. So poor Andrew got lambasted and Richard finally had to text him, ask him to call to support the ruse, and apologize in advance for being rude. It worked, I was completely oblivious to the fact that the first caller was Chris asking party prep questions, and not Andrew about work. Richard is FAR too good at pulling the wool over my eyes!

Of course, I was busy thinking about my first visit to Las Vegas. Sometime that morning I had the hazy thought that, huh, we could get married in Vegas, followed quickly by, no way, only drunks and people under 30 spontaneously get married there! Little did I know, a) you can’t get a marriage license in Vegas if you’re drunk, and b) Richard’s level of spontaneous took over two weeks of very careful planning. Most of it online while sitting next to me on the couch, I might add.

The next minor snag in my love’s cunning plan was when we got to the Sumas border crossing, usually one of the quickest crossings and the closest to us, and the wait time sign said an hour and a half! Luckily he had left himself two hours of wiggle room for lunch etc, so we had just enough time before the flight out of Bellingham to get some travel snacks and eat a takeout lunch in the airport parking lot.

At this point I knew we would have to hurry when we got off the plane, to get to dinner at the restaurant Richard had raved about on his trip last year, and then get to the one show in Vegas I most wanted to see: Cirque du Soleil’s “O”, starting at 10:00. As a birthday present that was fantastic and I wasn’t thinking much past that. I was partway through a wonderful novel called The Night Circus (thanks Allyson for the loan!) and read more on the plane, so I was definitely wrapped up in magical circus imagery. The fact that I’m not a good flyer worked to Richard’s advantage, as once we were on the plane I didn’t ask any more questions, just buried my nose in my book. Not that he would have answered my questions anyway.

Sign.jpgSo we get off the plane just as the sun is setting, and Richard points out the strip, right alongside the airport. Mandalay Bay is huge! We hurry off the plane, and as we head towards the baggage carousels, Richard makes a call to our “driver”. I’ve been sitting for 10 hours at this point and need a bathroom break, so I’m not really wondering why the shuttle driver would need a phone call. And then next to the carousel, I see this sign, held upside-down in front of the face of a guy in a pink shirt. Before I even saw my name on the sign next to it in Debbie’s hands, handiwork of daughter Amanda, I knew it had to be Larry – responsible for the pink in their Big Pink Flamingo Wedding Luau, which we went to in July. “Surprise!” says Richard. I was stunned, again. Thank you for coming, Larry and Debbie, Richard couldn’t have pulled it off without you.

Larry and Debbie had flown in from Reno hours before, so they could run around picking up a rental car and the Cirque tickets, and check into our rooms at Treasure Island – which they also found time to decorate in birthday streamers. We drove directly to the restaurant, no time to change out of all our travel clothes, because we had 7:45 reservations and a show to catch. In we go to Del Frisco’s steak house, and I’m looking forward to the wagyu (Kobe) beef Richard raved about last year.

Debbie and I go in first, and I don’t pay any attention in the huge and busy restaurant to the fact that the hostesses make a big deal out of “reservations for Larry” – “Larry? Larry Allen? Right this way!”. The guys are right behind us, we are seated by an older waiter – I’m thinking he was the maitre d’ – and then it’s all about the menu and how Larry and Debbie came to be there.

Proposal.jpgRichard had brought the flashcards to show them, reading off the backs again, and I was happily interjecting comments on being grumpy, sleepy, and surprised that morning. And then he looked at me and laid down the last card, the one with the date October 7 circled on it. Only this time he said, “…before we start a new adventure tomorrow…” and pulled something out of his pocket…

“…when I want you to marry me”.

I gaped at him, and opened the deep blue velvet-covered box in front of me. I gaped at the wedding ring. “Really?” I gaped back at him. Larry held his phone up, videotaping, and took this photo. Debbie was surprised too – Richard had only confided in Larry, on Thursday, when he was fit to burst with it. Watching the video Monday night, Richard laughed at how my jaw nearly hit the tablecloth, I was so stunned, it seemed like I couldn’t speak for several minutes (it was 16 seconds). I said yes (despite the fact that he didn’t actually ASK me at first), and tried to put on the ring, but since it was the wedding band itself, he took it away again. And proceeded to tell me NOTHING about the ceremony planned for Sunday afternoon. All I got out of him was the limo was picking us up at 1:30, and we’d be seeing a second Cirque show, Mystere, after the wedding. I sat there smiling goofily as the meal arrived, the flashcards tucked away as mementos, photos taken, and back to the business of enjoying a good meal. Crazy! My wonderful man.

DelFriscos.jpgI don’t know if it shows up in this photo, but our meal was delicious, a “tomahawk” it’s called. The highest quality wagyu beef perfectly grilled, 22 ounces (not including the long bone) cut in half so we could split it. I was still in shock (I think I only recovered by morning!) and not surprised that Richard wouldn’t tell me anything about his plans for the next day. Some women would be upset that their own wedding was completely out of their hands, but we’d had the UNwedding already, you see, so this was about Richard doing something just for me. I remember we had to be careful with the food – Larry is so allergic to seafood that even being splashed by salt water in a fishing area will make him break out, Debbie can’t do pecans, I can’t do onions, and all three are on the table – and the waiter took this photo, wishing me happy birthday again. The little white specks hovering after the flash suited my state of mind perfectly! The wait staff were thrilled to hear we’d just got engaged, and invited us to come back anytime. Turns out Larry had wheedled reservations on a night when they were already full, at a time (7:45) that they don’t seat people at, and I think he told them Richard was going to propose but I’m not sure on that point. At the end of our dinner they were still going to serve me a birthday cake, but I’d dashed to the washroom and Richard had to tell them no, we had to get going so we wouldn’t miss “O”.

O is for overwhelmed.

The Belagio is amazing. We went directly there from Del Frisco’s, and I was feeling very underdressed considering I’d brought quite a lot of nice clothes with me that I didn’t have time to change into. Yes, I did notice the beautiful lobby ceiling and point it out to Richard, but it went by in a blur, as did “O”. From the magical first few minutes I was entranced, but my brain was going around in dizzy circles by about halfway through and I kept missing chunks of the performance, starting back to awareness as the scuba divers suddenly appeared on the stage, or the acrobats got a round of applause. I saw the carousel horses dip down into the water, but I couldn’t tell you what happened to the acrobats’ tall ship. The water was amazing, the colours and shadows and flames, but looking at the souvenir book we brought home, I think I must have missed at least the last 15 minutes entirely. It’s also the kind of show where you really can’t see everything at once, there’s too much. I was so tired, so dazed. So happy.

I held Richard’s hand, and we went outside to watch the Belagio’s beautiful fountains before going back to Treasure Island and up to bed.

Categories: Road Trip

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