The Word of the Rings
by Jake Jordan
Instead of sharing an average engagement story, I thought I’d tell the tale of the rings that have braved Alison’s left hand.
We started dating nine years ago while attending the same private college. We both took a leap of faith and decided to transfer from that private college to a state university, declared the same major (accounting), moved into our first apartment after one semester of dating, and started working part-time to help put ourselves through college and pay our expenses. We had a tiny studio apartment with one room, a kitchen smaller than our current pantry, and a coat closet sized bathroom (shower stall only) in a converted Victorian house in Portland's West End. Trust me, Alison's dad can attest to how small this place was but we made it work for a year. It was cozy (ha!) and more welcoming than the dorm rooms with concrete walls we had moved away from. We had plaster walls that were painted a bright macaroni and cheese yellow with lots of chunky woodwork that was painted country blue. We both picked up as many hours as possible at work and skipped having things like cable in favor of going to concerts and sporting events or taking day trips occasionally. We became engaged while living in this apartment. Alison’s first engagement ring was actually a ring I received from a fraternity and she kept it on her key chain.
When we started working more hours months later, I was finally able to purchase a princess cut solitaire diamond ring that she could actually wear on her hand. This ring didn't have great monetary value but what it symbolized was a lifetime of always trying to improve and constantly provide more. Or, maybe I could argue that I got a more modest diamond because I wanted it to be easy for her to believe it was real. :) Somewhere along the way we started referring to it as The Practice Ring.
Here it is...
Glidden Gripper Primer were brushed and rolled to help us whip this place into shape. Alison is a messy painter. A very messy painter. She'll be covered in paint up to her elbows and have it all over her legs after completing the simplest paint job. Gripper primer really will grip to anything. Including modest diamond engagement rings. One swipe of the brush and practice was over.
Of course, we were still in the process of updating our house and we hadn’t gotten around to planting the money tree out back yet. She didn't wear a ring for a few months but Christmas was coming so fear not. To say we were on a budget at this point would be an understatement. We had carried both our first house and current house for eight months (while working multiple jobs and still attending college) while starting renovations here so our savings were pretty much depleted. Another diamond wasn't possible at this point so enter The Placeholder Ring.
I combined a store's Christmas 60% off jewelry sale with their store credit card's 30% off incentive to buy The Placeholder Ring. It's a Cassiopeia topaz that picks up on purples, pinks, and greens so she loves it. Alison appreciates gifts from me even more if I don't pay full price. She loves a bargain and her budget spreadsheet (If you want to be scared sometime, ask her about this spreadsheet. She has projections!). However, this ring journey isn't over yet.
Here it is...