The Wedding Planning Trilogy: Engagement, Year One

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my wedding to W. As part of the celebration, I will be documenting our relationship from the proposal up to the wedding, and each year up to our 10th anniversary.

When I shared The Proposal post with W, his response back was: “You have two typos.” Throughout the rest of the day, I kept pestering him with questions to glean more insight on what he felt as he read it but he remained reserved and withdrawn. Finally, after an hour or two had passed, he sighed and said: “It never got better, did it?” He was right, and my own frustration with our life together flashed through my eyes. It was all rainbows and sunshine until the wedding. Then shit really hit the fan.

The last few months of 2005 went by fast as we started to discuss the wedding date. Before settling on a date, our focus shifted to a more pressing matter: W got an IS 250 AWD with me on the title. There was no way his/our precious baby was going to sleep outside in an unmarked parking spot in the “ghetto”, domestic violence prone, break-in magnet, high tenant turnover, apartment complex from hell that we lived in. New vehicles stuck out like a sore thumb there, so putting my Nissan Altima out in the cold just so he could have my enclosed garage spot was not happening. To add insult to injury, W’s favorite TV shows had to be close captioned because the neighbors kept showering during Prime Time. (This was before DVRs and pause/record/replay existed, online streaming wasn’t a thing yet, and TiVo was prohibitively expensive.) He was not happy…so guess how we solved these problems?

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The IS in its full glory!

We decided to buy a house and move! This was early 2006 and prices had started to soar, so by the time February rolled around the cheapest brand new detached homes were $350k! Ugh! Yellow flags were raised all over our playing field. The economy was booming and we were caught in the middle of skyrocketing gas and everything prices. With less than two paychecks on the record for W, and just my confirmed salary, it made no sense to go in so deep into debt with two incomes. Yet we had to try.

Honestly, who would be crazy enough to loan us that kind of cash? ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

Countrywide Home Loans, approved us at a 0% down, with a 5/1 ARM at 6.25% and an interest only HELOC. Yup! The builder’s realtor, also our agent, showed us a palacial 2k sq ft home that met all of our requirements: independent walk in closet, two car garage, 4 bedrooms, dual sinks in the master bathroom, in a corner lot. Because the house was appreciating in value as it was being built, we splurged on granite tile countertops to avoid having cheap laminate installed. ๐Ÿ’ธ๐ŸŽฒ๐ŸŽฐThe process of selecting colors and finishes went awry on some many levels but we didn’t care. Nah, we weren’t bitter that they put the wrong tile on the shower enclosure, didn’t seal and finish the hardwood floor, and totally forgot to tell us the garage door opener was not included. The builder’s response to our complaints was “someone else will take it if you don’t like it”. Oh well!

A week before closing the loan officer realized that W didn’t qualify for the loan due to his non-existent credit. The financiers fixed it by putting both mortgages on under my name, with him on the title, and did a non disclosure income deal. This was shady,ย  but it got us a home, so to mitigate we decided to refinance at the first opportunity to get out of the interest only option. In April, just in time for my 25th birthday, we were handed the wrong keys to our new dwelling. Because escrow had closed for the day we had to borrow the foreman’s master key to unlock the door and celebrate.

Ta da! ๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿ 

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Our cars in their garage spots! ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜

When the new construction dust settled, we picked December 27, 2008 as the wedding date. Two and a half years away. Woohoo! The house selection and move had proven we could work well as a team. The fence was added in later, out of pocket, another victim of the upswing seller market. We were on a roll! ๐Ÿ––๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’

It didn’t take us long to start welcoming guests into our home. We hosted lots of late night study sessions, BBQs, and new hires. In the summer, my uncle’s family came to visit and we had a blast! During this mini vacation the Altima suffered cosmetic damage from a collision with a vehicle that slammed into us as we made our way to a park. The funny thing was we had to drive around Vancouver B.C. without being able to open the passenger door. We kept coming in and out through the window, NASCAR style.ย ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜† The pictures of that visit are still up on our walls. Our hearts overflowed with homeownership joy!

Fall settled back into the just us routine. Two 20 somethings making a nice living as engineers, planning a life together. The first Halloween Haunted House party was legendary; we gave out ribbon awards to the best, sexiest, most original, scarriest and funniest costumes. My friends went all out that first year, all 25+ of us kids learning to adult, and the contest became a thing. November, W’s birth month, wrapped up the year with a bang with the launch of the Nintendo Wii and our first Thanksgiving with a full Turkey!

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Our first turkey with friends at the new house.

The joys of the Wii’s intuitive controls, and the introduction of 780p HD definition, meant that we had to upgrade our old CRT TV to a new LCD flat screen! ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿค“๐Ÿค‘ The icing on the cake was that Comcast came out with a DVR box and a wireless cable modem! We were on a technology high and loving it. The beginning of the internet of things and smart phones was just around the corner!

Life was grand. Things were looking up. What could possibly go wrong? Stay tuned forย The Engagement, Year Two.

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