Jenni and Jimmy

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How We Met: We met at Teak in Hoboken, Thanksgiving weekend of 2009. We were both out with seperate groups, she was with her hometown friends for a birthday and I was with my cousins. I had maybe 150$ in my bank account and I had no desire to go out at all. I was broke, and completely hungover from the night before. Still, my cousins dragged me out of my apartment and we went to Teak. I was leaning up against the bar and she was walking with her friend, arm and arm when her friend up and left her standing there to go get a drink.

It was like the dance floor parted, but all I remember is she looked straight at me, and I looked straight into her eyes. We stared for a pause and she said Hi, and I replied with a typical drunken jersey boy response of- Hey Whats up? WE danced, kissed, and exchanged numbers. We kept in touch over the next few months on and off, until her winter break from school she was back visiting and I asked her to come hangout and watch football at my place.

We hit it off and she left the next morning. She came by another weekend and then I ended up making trips to her school to visit her. After a hefty amounts of visits on both our ends, we made it official March 20th,2010.

How He Asked: Pulling off a scavenger hunt proposal was so rewarding. My fiance’ was so happy, and I was exceptionally happy. I love telling the story to people, and I love everyone knowing how hard I worked just for this moment. It reflects the hard work you’ll need to put in everyday for the rest of your life to keep a smile on your loved ones face. If you’re choosing this method, it says a lot about how you feel. Also, know that it’s very hard and time consuming.

Below I’ve listed 3 important steps you can use on your own proposal. Consider these 3 things the foundation of the whole day. You will need to figure these 3 things out first, before you start working out the specifics of the hunt. Also, read up on my story, and other stories as well. I took ideas from others and mixed it in to mine.

At times it will seem so hard to accomplish, but just keep pursuing it because the reward is too great to express. I wish I could relive this day over and over again. My hunt for Jenni is explained after the steps, and I’ve given the clue’s, typed exactly how she read them. Just below each clue is a description of what went on and what she did, and how I chose it. Enjoy and Good Luck!

Step 1: Plant the seed. AKA ” THE LIE” Think of it as your planning a surprise birthday party. It’s up to you to decide the surprise factor of this, I went with totally keeping her in the dark and confused, this is where you need “THE LIE”. Bonus- You don’t get to do this much, so gentlemen, take advantage of this opportunity.

I picked out the ring in February and kept it well hidden of course. Now I needed to come up with an idea of how to keep her distracted when the time came months later. So, I told her about this guy I work with that gets stuff for cheap, you know, the “fall off the back of the truck” stuff  but its legit. Example: he  brought in Beats headphones in the plastic and everything trying to get everyone to buy it. I didn’t purchase them but I did tell this story to Jenni.

A few weeks later the same guy comes up to me asking me if I need shoes, or if my girlfriend needs shoes. (Apparently this man had a way to get DSW shoes very cheap) LIGHT BULB!  This is where I came up with THE LIE! I told Jenni the DSW thing, and went back and forth about different shoes, making it real. Then, I told her he can get Christian Louboutin(very expensive shoes with a red sole).

Step 2: [Planning the Hunt] I thought and thought of where I would send her and where I’d leave clues, and what the clues would look like. Plus the biggest, where was the spot going to be? I scouted for weeks, online and in the area since I live down the street from the George Washington Bridge, and that’s when it hit me. The spot with the bridge in the background. Ok how to get her there? Got other people involved. Friends can work, family members to, but if it’s your family member that hates shoes, and expensive fashion like my sister- BONUS!

I decided to ask my sister to help out, along with Jenni’s mother. They agreed and the plan was perfect. I also took the time to hand make the clues so they looked like rustic love-letters with a wax seal. I typed them up first in cursive, and then soaked them in tea.( You can google how to do this, it’s not rocket science). The key here was how to keep her in the dark while on the hunt. I decided to go with “Pirate lingo”. This was a pain, but it’s all worth it.

I used online pirate translators of simple phrases to put in the clues so she would laugh and not think this was her actual proposal. The clues indicated she was on the hunt for “The Lost Treasure of King Louboutin”, and I signed each letter as “Capt. James F Lovejoy”- my pirate name! Look, the cornier, the sillier, the funnier, the more she’s thrown off.

Step 3: Get a photographer. I was lucky enough that my cousins best friend took photography classes in college, and does it as a hobby, snapping photos of nature and what not. I also planned it ahead of time, making sure he was at the site before us hanging out, and wasn’t seen by us. You could find a professional that will do it for a $150-$250. Save this moment, it’s not just a “new thing” that people are doing to show off, it’s something people should have been doing all along, in my opinion. Even if it’s not a high-res camera, ask a friend, or hire someone, get a camera, use a phone, whatever. Get pictures of your moment. She’ll appreciate it, and you will too!

The above 3 steps is for your guidance. These are the main core ingredients needed to pull off a scavenger hunt proposal. Now, onto the story!

I had already distributed the clues to their destinations. My sister had 3, one in the glove box of my car, her mother had one, and I had the remaining two the morning of. I woke up at 730am, to tape the first clue on the TV. I also hand wrote a note, not in pirate lingo explaining to her to have a nice day, and I think it’d be fun for her to play along with it. I hinted for her to look at the TV. Of course as I was doing all this Jenni, the light sleeper she is woke up too, and I freaked out(don’t do this).

She laughed at me because of course she had no idea why I was acting like a crazy person at 730am.  After she was done laughing I told her to go back to bed and to get up at 8:30 or 9am, since I was leaving for my haircut.  I left Jenni my car keys so she can go to each destination as needed. I also left her envelope of money that she would need on her journey. An estimated $200 was the perfect amount. You should calculate the amount needed, plus extra if your destinations involve spending money.

Will ye be willing to take a journey for the lost treasure of King Loubouton? The treasure is of great value, flashin’ its red color from underneath. You have no time to waste, as the treasure be the most sought in all the world. The evil Captain Carmine may find it before us! Get dressed smartly, and go down to your ship at dock 7, the Dark Knight. Head to the place next to Isles o’ Chipotle. Ye favorite drink should be thar for you, along with another clue. Hurry! Oh, an’, take ye a selfie! ”

Jenni needs her Starbucks every morning. It was the perfect beginning, and the staff was more than happy to help me out. They helped me pick out the spot to leave so it was in plain sight, right by the pickup area. I went early in the morning , an hour or two before Jenni went.

Clue 2: “No quarter! Ye have arrived at Starbucks falls! As ye can found out, the Sea of Fort Lee is a bit crowded. Be wary of thee other bandits here, as they too seek treasure of King Loubouton. Now, ye must recruit some crew. Nearby at thar is a haven whar such a crew member can be. Head to Linwood Gardens, a haven whar we be havin’ our favorite pints. Thee best drinker in all thee sea lives thar. She shall help guide ye to the next part of the journey. Fool! Git her favorite drink, a pint of coffee with 2 dashes of equal sugar and skim milk. Also, take ye a selfie!”

Around the corner to my sister’s apartment. My sister was perfect all day with her acting, but again, she hates expensive fashion so it was somewhat easy for her. In any case, having a traveling companion is important. Don’t pick her best friend, she won’t be able to hold it in.

Clue 3: “Blimey! My apologies my dear lady, but Danielle must confiscate yer cell phone. Take a selfie with her, and she’ll take some photos for ye along the journey. Inside this envelope ye will find 100 shillings. Use this at thee arrival of yer next stop. T’is for when ye find thee treasure. Those feet of yours need to look nice as ye don thee treasure. Why not git thee hands taken care of as well. Since I’m such a nice Cap’n, I treat ye to such feelings of wealth. Enjoy! ”

The nail salon, the most important part of the trip. I know my Jenni, but also in doing your research you’ll find that no woman wants a ring with un-done nails. Jenni and I get pedicures together, once a month( no shame) , which is why I went with the feet, and planted the manicure idea too. Danielle had this clue in her purse and gave it to Jenni when she got in the car.

Clue 4: “Blimey! Thee next part is a far one. Ye must travel across thee Sea of Fort Lee, to thee parts whar thee barnacle-covered Joe can be found. Make sure ye bring me aft an Barnacle-covered Joe, and enjoy thee famous Iced Tea of Millburn! Another 40 shillings for yer meal! Be careful, as the Sea should be crowded even more by now. Hurry as time is a wasting! ”

They must obviously eat at some point. Jenni grew up in West Orange,NJ and Millburn is right next to it. They have the famous Millburn Deli, and in this nice little town everyone knows her and her family. Also, I had Jenni’s mom meet her there for lunch! And after they ate, Jenni’s mom handed her clue #5. Her mom, said she had no idea why I did it but it was something about shoes.

Clue 5: “Again, I cannot remind ye that in yer best interests to bring me back an old Joe. Some bad news has spread across yonder Seas, Captain Carmine has found the treasure! However, there be some good news, He be willing to ransom ye treasure off to me in a fair trade. This means we will have thar treasure for sure! Now before you head back to the Sea of Fort Lee, you must head to ye Cave of Macys nearby. Here be another 80 shillings for a nice dress to go with ye treasure!”

This was a little added on bonus. I know how much Jenni loves to shop, and the Short Hills Mall is right next to Millburn.  I saw another post do something like this and it worked out perfect. She looked so beautiful in the one she picked out, and it also killed some more time before the moment. Too many stops can be exhausting, but this was the perfect amount.

Clue 6: “Ye journey be coming to an end. Head back to Hudson Cove and leave ye ship at Dock 7 as you found it. Take a nap if there’s time, set an alarm, bathe and be ready.. I shall return with my ship to pick you up at no later than 6 o’clock. Make sure you be ready in ye dress, to celebrate in feast after. We need to meet Capt. Carmine together to make sure thar treasure shall fit ye. This treasure be something you have craved for a long time. Something like this only hails around once in a while. Getting this pair for you was impossible to turn down. This treasure be something you deserve, and was happy to get for ye. I hope ye enjoyed ye pirate journey! It was all in good fun!”

She went home, relaxed, and got ready. By this time it was pouring rain, which I was freaking out about, but it worked out for the better. The whole day I was getting my haircut, and hanging out with my best friend. I told all my cousins and a few friends that today was the day and for everyone to meet at a bar in Edgewater later that night, where we’d celebrate. I showered, shaved, got dressed at my sister’s place and met up with JJ( cameraman) at the spot.

We talked about it, where he’d be, and where I’d walk her to the perfect spot. I got a ride back to my apartment where Jenni was waiting. I called her and told her to hurry, we were up against the clock because I made dinner reservations at the River Palm Terrace in Edgewater. In the car, I was calm as could be. I was telling her that “Carmine” was going to meet us with the shoes at the spot. She had no idea where the spot was, but the ride there is interesting. It’s a windy road down the cliffs to the Hudson River.

Then the road surrounded by trees goes on for a few miles till you get to Ross Dock, which is a nice park area along the Hudson River with the George Washington Bridge and NYC in the background. (When I scouted this place, a lot of people were there sitting on benches and picnicking. Even if it was sunny and they were there, I was still going to do it. But the rain helped, and nobody was there, except for me, Jenni, and JJ.)

When we got to Ross Dock, I called JJ, but called him Carmine and said I was there, and repeated his words that “he’d be there in 10 minutes”. I suggested, let’s take a picture on the water, because seriously the view is spectacular. Shockingly she agreed and we began walking up.

Walkup

I was starting to get a little nervous but I was keeping my cool, I put my arm around her, which was the signal for JJ to start snapping photos. We kept walking and I took a quick look back and I could see JJ tailing us with his camera from a distance.

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This was it, the moment was coming and I was starting to get nervous. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, even though I knew she’d say yes. It had been over 5 years and Jenni knew how much I had been struggling after I lost my job.

She had no idea what was coming, even as weird as she thought it was going on this whole trip for a pair of shoes that didn’t exist. I came to my senses and realized that this was it, it couldn’t be more perfect. I stopped and walking and turned to her with my phone in my hand. I gave her the umbrella to hold and put the phone in my pocket.

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I took a deep, subtle breath and said, ” Jenni , um I have something to tell you.

” With a look of confusion, she replied” Um okay, is it something bad?”

“Kinda. Um, Jenni, there are no shoes.”

“What? What do you mean there’s no shoes? Then what’s all this?

“Well there’s this…….”

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I reached into my pocket and pulled out the box. I looked her straight in her eyes and dropped to one knee as I opened the box and said “Jenni, I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?”

And with tears in her eyes and smile of disbelief, she said yes!