Well, it has certainly been some time since I’ve taken the opportunity to write at all. In fact, ever since I met Megan I haven’t been so good at writing – I guess it’s just that we’ve been so busy and always had other things to do.
People have been asking for nearly a year now, and Cheesecake Factory finally made the incentive for me to write our love story down and submit it in their contest. Some of this has been covered, and some hasn’t, so I’m just going to try and get it all here in one spot for good!
Megan and I really met when Kenny invited her over to my house for movie night. I had some friends coming over to watch Twilight when it first came out on DVD. I should back up to say that we had kind of met a few weeks earlier at church, when we actually sat next to each other, but didn’t even so much as say a word to each other. The following week we spoke briefly at the Dowden’s, but the ice wasn’t really broken until the night she was here at the house. We started talking and I played her Brad Paisley’s new song, “Then.” I remember that Kenny and I were playing with iTunes DJ and she had started requesting a number of Brad Paisley songs, so I had to see if she had heard his latest. She instantly liked it. One of the other girls that was here, Ashley, was going to be having her birthday Tuesday and we were going to be going to Disneyland. I invited Megan to join us for dinner at Cheesecake Factory before.
When Tuesday came we met up at Cheesecake and then to my surprise she decided to join us afterward at Disneyland. We stayed up way too late that night and spent most of the evening talking. We started texting on our way home that night and the volume only went up from there. I was spending that week at the San Diego Temple for our semi-annual offering in righteousness where we spend most of the day there. So, I was up early the next morning and she was up early for work and we started talking each morning and each night on my way home from the temple. (It’s an hour long drive.) That Saturday I couldn’t decide if i was going to go to the temple or if I was going to call my week done and do something different. One way or another we ended up going to Disneyland – and of course going to Cheesecake Anaheim (with Teal as our waitress).
As what seemed to be par for our relationship, we were out way too late, especially considering the lack of sleep we’d had all week. Megan was going to spend the night at a mutual friend’s house – Sally & Bill (who incidentally had basically schemed this whole relationship) – but we didn’t get there till 2:15 Sunday morning! Unfortunately, they had left the house locked up so we had to try to break in instead of waking them up. After about a half hour of trying all sorts of things and talking about not wanting to wake people up, we finally called her mom who called to wake up Sally. That sure gave us interesting stories to be told the next day at church as I was currently serving in branch council with Bill.
After church on Sunday, she came back to my house where we sat and talked the evening away. We went to branch prayer came back to my house and threatened to have a pillow fight. At some point the evening ended and I decided to give her a night off on Monday. I guess I was worried that she would figure out that too much of me was a bad thing and I would scare her off. That Tuesday we were texting at work and she had eaten something spicy and thought she was going to die, or something to that effect. I asked her what she wanted to do for her last night here on earth – i.e. her last wish – and she couldn’t really come up with something. While I would have chosen Cheesecake, maybe we had just had too much, and she had mentioned this other restaurant Ancho’s previously. I suggested we try Ancho’s and then go go-carting, something else she had mentioned previously. Well, while we were planning all this Kenny showed up at my house, so he came along for the evening as well.
We had a great time and again were out too late. We were already planning on going to Disneyland the following day, April 1st. I actually had a friend who suggested the outing, so I started inviting people, including Megan. She told me that she had the day off from work. Well, long story short, it ended up just being the two of us at Disneyland that day. Since it was April fools day, I decided to tell facebook that she and I were married – and also to see how she would take it. I told her that facebook was being weird and that she needed to check it before we left. I don’t know what she thought – other than I was crazy – but she decided we could be married for the day and confirmed the relationship. We later started making up crazy stories that we were having our Disney fairy tale wedding that day and so forth. The one thing I regret doing was not buying her some kind of ring from Disneyland and putting it on her finger that day. We both were getting phone calls asking about what was going on. I don’t remember all that happened that day, but it was the day that I knew. It was also the second consecutive day that we would always see each other from there on out.
The following day we had no plans to be together, but at the last minute she came down for institute, a scripture study class we have at church. That was the day that I knew my feelings weren’t completely off base and she must have felt something back. We already had plans that Friday night to watch a movie, so she came down. That weekend was our church’s general conference where we watch various sessions on television, so she stayed in Murrieta so we could watch conference together. She invited me to dinner with her family on that Saturday, so we went there and I went to priesthood session with her father. We stayed and played games where I got to meet the whole family. Talk about intimidating: They were asking me all the questions!
Sunday we were back watching conference and we had plans to take Monday off. I was still worried about scaring her away. Well, another Cheesecake fanatic fan of mine called me up and said, “let’s go to Cheesecake,” the four magic words to which I immediately reply, “Let’s go!” I, of course, called up Megan and informed her that she was not going to be getting the night off after all. We haven’t had a night off since that Tuesday, thankfully, to date.
Back when I was trying to fulfill her last wish the previous week, she had mentioned something she doesn’t even remember. Brad Paisley’s Then was playing in the car and she said something to the effect of how she’d love to hear him sing it live. At the time, Brad was going to be playing at Stagecoach festival and I was thinking that would be a great place to propose. I guess my timeline wasn’t fast enough though and I got the hint that week to speed things up. We looked at some rings so I got an idea of what she wanted and decided Friday to call Zales and tell them to get the ring ready. I had that ring burning a hole in my pocket Friday night, all day Saturday when we went to Sea World and then Sunday morning. I had planned an Easter egg hunt for Megan Sunday and told her about it earlier.
We went to her parents for church Easter Sunday morning, and then had brunch at their house with the whole family. We rushed back to Murrieta to go to the singles ward here and I told her that I needed to swing by the house to get my stuff together. She wanted just to stay in the car, but I told her that I needed a few minutes and it would be a good time for her to do her Easter egg hunt. I had made most of the eggs fairly easy to find, and they all had a slip of paper in them. Most of them were lyrics to our song, Then. When she put them in the right order, it spelled out the location of the remaining egg. It spelled out pancake. So, she looked in the fridge and didn’t find an egg. Then she looked in the pantry and still no egg. She was starting to give up when she realized the pancake griddle was on the counter, not it’s normal spot. She looked all around it and didn’t find anything. I asked if she knew it had a drawer at which point she started pulling it out. By the time she had the egg opened, I was down on one knee behind her. I asked her to be my wife as she pulled the ring out of the egg.
Needless to say, we were way late for church. And there wasn’t anything that I needed from the house, other than for that ring to be on her finger and not burning a hole in my pocket! She totally wasn’t expecting it because I had led her to believe it was coming in a few more weeks and she knew I wouldn’t pop the question until I had asked her dad. What she didn’t know was that I had been trying to work up the courage to ask him – and find the time to do so – all morning long! I lingered and stalled at their house that morning trying to get him alone. It wasn’t done the way I planned it, but it worked out just fine. (I was planning to ask him the following week at the Redlands Temple.)
So, we really met March 21st and were engaged April 12th. There were a few more trips to Cheescake Factory over the coming months (I had the help of Discover Card in figuring out our timeline of dining at the Cheesecake Factory.) It was pretty much non-stop tlll the wedding. Megan went looking for dresses the next weekend while I was at a sealing, then I went to the Redlands temple with her parents, where I was planning on asking for her hand in marriage. We took a trip to Arizona to visit my grandma (and get a box she had been holding for me). During the trip we went horseback riding at the OK Corral. Then we were taking engagement pictures in Laguna Beach – followed, of course, by the original Cheesecake Factory that I had wanted to go to for a LONG time in Redondo Beach.
The next weekend we were shopping for cakes and then we were off to Pennsylvania and West Virginia for a week where we visited the Cheesecake Factory in Pittsburgh and Brad Paisley’s hometown of Glen Dale, WV. May 30th we were back in Redondo Beach at the Cheesecake Factory after going to the Point Fermin Lighthouse to scatter my mom’s ashes, something else I had been meaning to do for a long time. Her bridal shower was the following weekend, followed by her endowment. On the last free weekend she took her bridal portraits and we were busy with other things.
We were married June 26th in the Los Angeles Temple. Unfortunately, there was no Cheesecake involved, but we did stop at Chic-fil-a for a snack on our way home. Our reception was the following day and on our way to our honeymoon, you can bet our first stop – and our first real out to dinner meal was at the Cheesecake Factory Pasadena.
We had a lovely honeymoon in Santa Barbara at the Fess Parker Doubletree Resort. We spent a few days there exploring before going further north, but called it and came home early. (We were probably running low on Cheesecake after all that wedding cake.)
There’s lots to say from there, but I think I’m going to quit while I’m ahead today.