Sunday, November 01, 2009

the ring hunt

H and I have never been what most people call "conventional." From how we met to how we conduct ourselves in daily life, we don't always do things the way everyone else expects us to.

Take our engagement, for instance: One Sunday morning, as I was watching the Indian Show and H was making brunch, he came over to the couch with some delicious pancakes and a diamond ring, which he'd had in his possession for more than a year. Everyone who knew us well was aware of that, which meant that anytime we went to a remotely romantic place, people anticipated a proposal. But H really wanted to take me by surprise, so an engagement over Bollywood hits and Sunday pancakes was perfect. I hadn't even processed what was happening until after I'd already answered the question.

The guy is pretty crafty. In the past I've gotten a handmade board game, a laser etching on the back of my iPod, a Legend of Zelda puzzle map and all kinds of other creative, thoughtful gifts. His great-grandmother's ring (hand-cut and made in Germany somewhere around 1919) was too big for my finger and the inside of the band was a little flimsy, so he took it to Jeweler's Row to be re-sized and fortified. The first time I came to the condo after he got it back, H was nowhere to be found and I opened the door to this:

Hanging in the hallway in front of the door was my "mission: to find the ring." It reminded me of the recent Mystery issue of WIRED (my favorite magazine), with random letters in different colors to offer hidden clues. The green letters happened to spell out Fourth from the right. I was also instructed to keep his iPhone close by in case I needed any help.

Taped to the ceiling were what seemed like hundreds of envelopes, each attached to a colored ribbon and a folded piece of paper with a number on it. It looked amazing and daunting at the same time. I was trying to figure out what "fourth from the right" could possibly mean in this setup, as well as overthinking the colored letters in the first clue. I figured H had some sort of candid camera recording me, so I kept yelling out things like "I'M NOT GETTING IT!" and "I NEED HELP!" I wasted a lot of time trying to solve the first clue before realizing it was a simple reference to the candles in the bathroom.

We'd never lit the votives in this candleholder, but it looked so pretty, we should do it more often. Fourth from the right! I blew it out and grabbed some tweezers to pull out the candle base.

It took a lot of maneuvering to take a picture of this while the wax was still melty.

In the dryer was a very thoughtful (and challenging!) crossword puzzle all about me, things I like, phrases I say and whatnot. Apparently, H is a very good listener and actually remembers stuff that comes out of my mouth. Some of which I don't recall myself. Several boxes within the puzzle were shaded yellow, and those letters fit the six-letter word scramble at the end that would get me past the next clue.

The mouse had a Post-it that said "Shake me." That six-letter scramble from the crossword unlocked the computer.

This one would have been tricky if I didn't know that H had originally set up a camera to alert us when people who come to check out our home are done (otherwise we'd be stuck outside for HOURS; the realtors never call to tell us they're done). I figured out the webcam had been moved behind the computer stand.

And when I looked into it, the iPhone vibrated and I saw my own face in the app.

There was another frame with the next clue. I misinterpreted the E.T. part of it and called my parents' house. I assumed they were in on it, but Mom and Dad were no help. So I went into the living room and started yanking down envelopes. Starting with the green ribbons, of course.

I was told later that the "phone home" part of the clue corresponded to the numbers hanging off the ceiling--the only ones of use for the next clue were the numbers in my parents' home telephone number.

The green-ribbon envelopes happened to be those numbers; they all had puzzle pieces inside. I opened all the rest, just in case.

The puzzle looked like the accent pillow on the bed. I couldn't help but run over there and grab it, looking inside and underneath, but stopped myself from actually cheating. I put together the photograph and taped it together (a trick I learned from Angel07's Amazing Race Party).

Yep, it was definitely a detail shot of that accent pillow. I flipped the puzzle over:

Back to the pillow.

Sure enough, there was a little brown box under all that stuff. I was glad I hadn't cheated.

The ring seemed nicer than I had remembered. Not bad for being 90 years old, eh?

And it fit much better, too!

H was sitting downstairs in a common area that entire time. He had seen me walk in, but didn't realize I spent 20 minutes chatting with cc on the phone before coming up the elevator. He didn't, in fact, have any cameras on me (which is a shame, because I sort of hammed it up for an audience of nobody), and was kind of worried why it was taking so long. In the box was a note telling me to email him when I was done. When I did, he came upstairs and put the ring back on my finger, where I suspect it'll be for a very long time.


Syar said...

Cool! I love puzzles and I love how the two of you love puzzles. I really liked the bit when you looked into the webcam and the iPhone vibrated. Very high tech (to the rest of us low-tech plebes).

Also, I LOL-ed for reals at (which is a shame, because I sort of hammed it up for an audience of nobody). I wish there were cameras that could've captured that! :)

SupaCoo said...

Genius! Keep him.

jazz said...


Willowtree said...

Yep he's a keeper - that's amazing. You guys are going to have tons of fun in your life together.

Jon said...

In retrospect, I should have had several other cameras set up throughout the place and a PA system with which to give god-like directions.

I'm just glad she liked it:)

Psychic Pimp said...

Freakin' COOL!!!! Nice job Jon. That Cadiz is a lucky girl.

Angel07 said...

Love it!!!! Nice job H!!

Librarian Girl said...


Cofo said...

I would say that I aspire to do that for my fiancee if/when I get married, but I know I'm not creative enough.

Therefore, the duty falls to her. I hope you're reading this, soulmate. I expect great things.

Anyway, really cool. Great idea!

Madelyn said...

Man, my brother is awesome. Plus, not only do you get my brother for the rest of your life, you get his awesome family. You are one lucky lady. (and by lady, I mean young woman).

Guyana-Gyal said...

Now that's luuuuuve!

I think you two are going to have fun forever. I read somewhere that couples who have fun have the best marriages. Keep on playin'.

Teej said...

Finally back from vacation and catching up on my blog reading, and I have to tell you that your fiance is brilliant and completely swoon-worthy. Seriously, he just blew my mind into a hundred pieces.

Your ring is beautiful. What an honor to receive such an heirloom.

P.S. I got my engagement ring from dimend SCAASI!

Eva Gallant said...

What a wonderful story! This guy is definitly a keeper!