Thursday, September 18, 2008

The One Ring (by Kyle Rogers)

(This is part of the flashback series, stories we always meant to write but never got around to)
As many of you now know, Vanessa and I are married. For those of you who know us well, you know that we were dating for five and a half years before we decided to tie the knot. So it shouldn't surprise any of you to know that we are often referred to as Kylessa, in fact, many of you have probably done so yourselves at some point in time. Rightfully so I suppose, but let me make something clear, not to get the record straight or anything, I'm actually quite fond of our little petnames, but rather to "set the stage" as it were, for the story I am about to tell. Brace yourselves dear friends and family, this may come as a shock to some of you…we are not the same person. Now catch your breaths and close your mouths. I know it's hard to accept this statement as fact. In truth, I'm not entirely sure that by any scientific definition we could be considered anything other than symbiotic organisms at best. So let us contemplate that for a bit.

Take the Remora fish. If you have ever watched the Discovery channel during Shark week, you have seen a Remora. They are the little, shiny, sinuous fish that attach to the bellies of sharks, whales, turtles, manta rays and just about any other large object they can find to hitch a ride on. Now then, there is some debate about whether or not this is a true symbiotic relationship, as the transporter may or may not gain any value from the transported. At this point in life I feel I may be like the Remora in more ways than one, and I am sure a few of you are thinking the same thing, but that's not the issue I wish to address here. Perhaps when I have evolved into something a bit more productive than a clingy, semi-parasitic fish, I will be in more of a mood to discuss how alike I truly am to the Remora, but the point I am trying to make now is that, while the two are very rarely seen apart from one another, the Shark and the Remora are not the same animal! The same is true for Vanessa and me.

Again, I'm not trying to make a point. I just feel that in order to fully understand how this story could have possibly gotten so incredibly out of hand as it did, you have to understand how differently Vanessa and I operate. So that being said, it can all be summed up in one word. Persistence. Vanessa is quite possibly the most persistent person I know. She sees things through 100% all the way, where as I am much more prone to taking things at a more leisurely pace. Now, I admit that I am often times leisurely to a fault but I think it's somewhere in the middle ground that true happiness lies. So the fact that I am not by nature, nearly as persistent as Van is, or as most people are, should help you understand a bit why things happened how they did. Also, I think it should be said that much of what occurred seemed to me to be a rather long run of bad luck. If any of you have been following our current debacle, you know that the streak continues. Read our blog for further details.

So without further delay, the moment many of you have been waiting for, the story of the ring! This is a very long tale by the way, so those of you with lives may want to peruse the outline first and then take the actual story one bit at a time.


1. Chapter One-The One Ring- Here is where we learn the story of how I have to have the absolute, one and only, no other one like it in the world, perfect ring for my amazing wife to be….I never found that ring by the way.

2. Chapter Two- ETD 3 Months and Counting- At this point, Italy was looming and progress seemed to slow to a near halt the closer our departure date came.

3. Chapter Three- AVAST YE SCAVERNOUS DOGS!- Whoever says pirates are a thing of the past will be forced to walk the plank!

4. Chapter Four- The One Ring, Take Two- Yet again, the search is on.

5. Chapter Five- Proposal in Italy…ok Spain….ok Germany….Switzerland?...Austria….COME ON! –Waiting sucks. Too bad you guys have to wait for this part haha!

6. Chapter Six-Homeward Bound- AKA The One Ring, Take Two (continued)- Now that we're stateside, things should get easier right? …Right?

7. Chapter Seven-Settlement- Not happy about it but there's no such thing as the perfect ring!

8. Chapter Eight- Ring dirt- Got the ring but why the hell is it dirty!?

9. Chapter Nine- Time's Up!- Rehearsal day and it's finally ready!

Chapter One-The One Ring

This story starts where this kind of story always starts for all guys that think about tying the knot. Jewelry stores… YAY! Now, I am probably one of the least masculine guys I know in many ways. I actually enjoy arts and crafts. I even took jewelry making in High School art class and loved it, but nothing could have prepared me for how frustrating and mind numbingly boring ring shopping would be. For one thing, every jewelry store out there carries the same damn stuff! Now you ladies may be saying "that's not true!" but believe me, to a dude, it's all shiny, it's all gaudy, and IT'S ALL OVER PRICED! So trying to find "just the right one" felt like trying to find just the right grain of sand at the freakin beach. It's so overwhelming to a dude! And truth be told, most dudes end up settling with something that won't break the bank that they think the lil lady MIGHT like, but really they know that they'll be back with her choosing the one she REALLY wanted anyways. Well that wasn't gonna be me! I was determined to get the ONE RING! And by God, if I couldn't find it I would make it myself. So after 20 some odd jewelry stores of the same old crap, I knew what had to be done. Here's where the journey truly began.

It all started with a jeweler that my Grandparents had been acquaintances with for 50 years or some ridiculous amount of time like that. If I asked, they could probably tell me exactly how long they had known him, but since this is my story to tell, I'm going to exaggerate all I like. Anyways, Harvey had been my grandparents jeweler for 500 years and was famous in my family for the extravagant work he had done crafting my grandmothers wedding ring. It really is a thing of beauty. So after I found me a good catch that I thought maybe I would marry some day (wink), it was time for me to give Harvey a call to see if I couldn't squeeze a deal out of him. After all, he had been my Grandparents jeweler for half a millennium, and I really did like his work. So many messages left later, he returned my call and said he stopped making rings 200 years ago but he had a good contact for me who just happened to also be named Harvey. I'm not positive about this but I think they may have been related as Harvey number 2 had the same speech mannerisms as Harvey number 1. So many messages left later again, Harvey 2 returns my call and says he would love to help me find the One Ring. Now, I'm not great at returning phone calls, as many of you probably know, but there are some people in the world that just flat out suck at keeping in touch. And it seems to me that the more you need to be in touch with those people, the longer it takes to reach them. Stop snickering, I said I was bad about it myself, but I'm not THAT bad. Harvey 2 was. But after a while things settled down in the jewelry business I guess, cause he started calling me every other day. For nearly a month straight he'd send me emails of rings he thought I might like, but none of them were what I was looking for and on top of it all, I was really hoping to use the diamond my mom had given me that was her engagement diamond. That would save me a pretty penny, so I thought and it would have been nice to have something with sentimental value. So the emails keep flying, but so does the time. It should have been fun, but in reality, it just became more and more frustrating. Good things come to those who wait right? B. Freakin S.!

Chapter 2- ETD 3 Months and Counting

So at this point in our lives, things were lookin pretty good. We had transferred to UT, thank God, we had made some good friends, and our next adventure was just around the corner. We had decided that we needed to see the world a bit. We did some traveling around the U.S. but Europe was what we were really craving and an opportunity popped up at just the right time. So it was off to Italy to study abroad for a bit. Officially, we were going to study Art and Art History, but un-officially we were going to study European travel. Awesome trip and we blogged all about it but this is the story of The One Ring, so I'm going to try not to digress too far. The deal was, here we were getting all excited about Europe and I wasn't any closer to finding The One Ring than the day I started with Harvey 2. So the pressure was on. Eventually we started seeing eye to eye and he was able to send me some samples of how the ring would look. Awesome! It was nothing like what I had shown him how I wanted it to look but it was far better than anything else he had sent me and I figured, like most dudes do, that she would like it well enough and want to change it eventually anyways! The fact was, I would have a ring to propose with while we were in Europe!!! And it wasn't ugly, in fact, it was a very nice ring. Not The One Ring but a good one none the less. The only problem was, we were less than a week away from leaving and Harvey 2 still hadn't made it. My nerves were going haywire as I realized what was going to have to happen. I was going to have to ship it to Italy DUN DUN DUUUUUUN!


Now there are many things in this story that I could have done differently and saved myself a lot of trouble. In fact, in some instances, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see I was flat out stupid doing some things the way I did. But here's one part of the story where I clearly made a good decision. After having settled on a ring and having settled into our new home in Italy, it was time to have the ring sent. I had figured out a way to get it to the school without Vanessa noticing. Here's the smart part, I HAD IT INSURED! Good call right? Now I know that this may sound like common sense, but let me just remind you that I take things pretty leisurely and to tell the truth, I often think I am a bit too trusting of the system. Well, this time I decided to be on the safe side and went ahead with the insurance. The best 25 bucks I ever spent. Who knew that it would actually be of use? FedEx sure didn't! Here's where things get really interesting. Somewhere between the U.S. and Italy, the cargo freight with my ring in it had gone A.W.O.L. That's right, an entire Cargo freight just went bye bye. If it seems confusing to you, imagine how I felt. Now like I said I had it insured so no biggy right? HA! FedEx and I are the best of friends now. Actually, they really were fantastic. After about 2 months of telling me "we're investigating, we're just not sure at the moment, thank you for your patience" things actually went quite well. As frustrated and concerned as I was, things could have been a lot worse. The people at FedEx customer relations are true pros. They have it down like no other. Phil was my contact dude and first thing he said when I was turned over to him was "I am so sorry that this happened. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for you and I just want to let you know that I am here 24/7 to help in every way I can." Phil is the man. Every customer relations person could take a lesson from this guy. So anyways, to make a long story less long, Phil calls me at 10 one morning, which by the way I figured out later was 3 in the morning where he was! Anyways he calls me and says "you're not gonna believe this. Pirates took your ring!" I didn't know what to say at first. For a good three seconds, silence was all I could muster. "Pirates? Like Blackbeard pirates?" I said and Phil laughed. "Well no, not quite Blackbeard but my supervisor told me that the freight with your ring was redirected to an un-registered warehouse and half the stuff is just gone. BUT NOT YOUR RING!" So he goes on to tell me that yes indeed they had the ring but not exactly safe and sound. For whatever reason the "pirates" decided to separate the stone from the setting. It didn't quite work the way they wanted and I ended up with scrap metal and a chipped stone. Anyways, the insurance actually covered piracy! Not piracy exactly I don't think, but they did cover everything, including the cost of shipping. Too bad that was just pointless as we were pretty close to being on the way home by the end of all this mess.

Chapter Four-The One Ring Take Two

So after the Pirate episode was somewhat resolved, the next task at hand for me was to figure out how the heck I was going to make the proposal work without a ring. This is a whole other story. No, literally, I'm making another story of it so you'll just have to tune in next time for that one. That's Chapter Five-Proposal by the way. As I was in the midst of putting together the perfect proposal, I was also fighting an uphill battle with Harvey 2. Basically, the problem was, he hadn't kept the mold or the models he used on my ring. Why, I do not know, but hey, I'm not a jeweler. So the search was on yet again for The One Ring, whilst planning a proposal, whilst traveling Europe and whilst …well that's it but I like saying whilst and isn't that enough? It wasn't easy AND on top of it all, I had to make it look like everything was fine! Such a mess. Like I said before, this entirely too long of a story to tell now but I guess I should give you some idea of what was going on at this time. Our Italy program was over and we had a long list of places to cover in a very short time. I was calling Phil and Harvey 2 on a near daily basis, without Van ever noticing mind you and I'm kinda proud of that. I was desperately hoping that I would be able to have the ring sent to us where we were when it was ready, which meant at any given time, I would have to know 3 days in advance so I could know where to send it. Bottom line, that never happened and again, in retrospect, never could have happened but at the time I was desperately optimistic. The biggest problem was that Harvey 2 had completely lost base with what I was going for before. I don't know if he thought I was a different client of his but everything he was sending me look NOTHING like the ring we had settled on. Not even close. Had he actually made it in time, I don't think it would have worked out anyways but still! Harvey 2 was my least favorite person in the world during our travels. Still in my bottom 10 to this day.

Chapter 6-Homeward Bound

So nothing I had planned had worked out in the least but Vanessa decided to accept my weak ass proposal anyways. I got an automatic +10 for doing it in a cute gazebo in Paris but a +10 on a -20 proposal still ain't breaking the surface is it? Anyways, our European travels were over, and it was time to head home. I decided that the last few days of our trip would be a chance for not just Van and I to rest, but for Phil and Harvey 2 to get a little break from me as well. Believe it or not, they actually started calling me. Weird how that works isn't it? So we get home and I think, good deal, we're stateside, we've got plenty of time now to get this thing taken care of, awesome. Nine months. That's how long it took to finally get the ring. We could have had a freakin baby in the time it took Harvey 2 to get the stinkin ring to me. The first month back our conversations went something like this;

Me: Hey Harvey it's Kyle Rogers.

Harvey2: ….OK…..How can I help you?

Me: Well…I was just calling to see how the design was coming.

Harvey2: OH!...yeah ok, gimme just a sec….(ruffling of papers, sound of coffee mug falling, Harvey 2 whispers some profanity) ya Kyle I've got the designs here, I um…I think these are pretty close to what we had before so I'm just gonna send em to you and see what you think ok? Be sure and get back to me as soon as you can so we can get goin on it.

Me: Right, well, Van and I are back in the states now so hopefully we can all get goin on this a little faster now. So, I'll check em out and let you know right away.

Harvey2: Ok great, have a good one.

Me: Ya you too.

2 Weeks and 3 phone messages later;

Me:Harvey, it's Kyle Rogers.

Harvey2: Oh hey Kyle, I was wondering if I was ever going to hear back from you.

Me: Harvey, I've called you like 3 times in the past 2 weeks, did you check your messages?

Harvey2: Well, the answering machine has been broken for about a month now, I just answer when I can. What did you think of the designs?

Me: Well that's what I was calling about before, I never got them.

Harvey2: Oh that's right, I couldn't send them cause I don't have your email.

Me: Harvey, I've sent you at least 15 emails in the past month, and you responded to 2 of them. I really wish you had let me know sooner that you didn't know where to send them to.

Harvey2: Oh here it is! Ya, somehow your email got in my junkmail. I'm real sorry about that. Ok, I'm sending them now. Just let me know by the end of the day what you think.

Ok, I'm not going to bore you with the rest of our conversations but I think you can get the picture here. It was not pretty. Harvey 2 must be the flakiest dude in the world. For the next 7 months, he was number one on my "people I'd like to slap silly" list.

Chapter 7-Settlement

Now I have never personally designed a ring before. The sketches I sent Harvey were paper and pencil drawings of knots and ivy and pretty designs that I liked. Nothing even close to the 3 D models he was sending me. He really did have a talent for that but the thing was, the models seemed to have very little of my influence in them at all. For 7 months Harvey and I went back and forth about including elements that I liked and finding ways to make it possible. The real problem we kept running into was Harvey 2 was a very geometric dude and I wanted something more organic looking. Something less mathematical and more musical. I guess that's pretty hard to do on a computer program but still, Jewelry craft is an art right? SO BE ARTISTIC! Well, it may have taken 7 months for us to get there but get there we did. Finally the designs were getting close enough to what I had in mind that I was able to reach a point where I could say "yes, that is a ring I could see Van wearing." And I think, that was about all that either Harvey 2 or I needed to be able to say, let's stop here. It wasn't perfect, but it was close enough. Not to mention we were 2 months away from Wedding day. We were really cutting it close.

Chapter 8-Ring Dirt

After 7 months of dealing with Harvey 2 Super Flake, I was so ready to be done with him for the rest of my life. We had a design and I was very relieved for that. Harvey 1 had offered me an amazing deal on a new stone for the ring and got it to me the next day. Take a lesson Harvey 2. I wasn't naïve enough to think that it was all going to be downhill from there, but I really thought things would move just a little faster than they did. But, for all the trouble, Harvey 2 said he would only charge half what he usually did for custom designs. I didn't actually have the ring in my hands until 2 weeks before the wedding. And the worst part of it was, when I excitedly opened the pretty little cherry wood red box. The ring was dirty! That's right, dirty. For those of you who have seen Van's ring, you know that it has very tiny crevices were stuff can collect very easily. All those little crevices were filled with a strange wax like substance and the white gold band and setting had smudges all over it. Even the diamond had a smudgy layer of what looked like grease on the top. I did the best I could with a polishing cloth but, afraid to try anything else, I decided I needed professional help. First thing I did was call Harvey 2. No answer surprise, surprise. I left a very angry message which probably wasn't helpful in the least but it made me feel better for the time being. Second thing I did was call Harvey 1 to see if he knew what to do. He recommended I take the ring to a place in Austin that he had worked with many times. Said the guys there were the best and they owed him a favor in very mafia esc fashion. Mafia or not, I didn't care. If these guys could make this puppy shine, I was up for the trip. I still had 5 days till W Day and not much else to do with my time than run errands so I just added it to the list. The guys at the counter who I talked to first were 2 italians pushing 250 each, with slicked back hair and about 2 lbs. of gold jewelry on. After I showed them the ring they both let out very Italian exclamations and they looked at each other and said, "I think we need to get Rudolf on this." It was like something out of the movies. Rudolf wrapped up the cliché about as perfectly as any movie director could ever hope for. Basically, Rudolf was Mel Brooks. 70 year old, curly side burned, Yamika wearing jewelry Yoda. The guy didn't say a word. He looked at my ring, then at me. "Harvey did this?" "No, well yes, but not the Harvey you know. A friend of his who he recommended who is also named Harvey. Harvey Nimitz I think." The three of them all let out different exclamations but I think they all meant exactly what I thought of him; Flakey, lazy SOB. Rudolf turned back to me and said, "don't worry, I owe Harvey a favor so this one's on me but it's gonna take me a while to get to it. How long ya got?" "4 days." I said. No problem. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I thought for just a second, wouldn't it be just too fitting for my ring to be mysteriously miss placed by 2 mobsters and Mel Brooks just days before the wedding? Then I thought, well hell, it would just be one more thing to add to the book!

Chapter 9-Time's up!

The day before the rehearsal, I call the Mobster's to see if my ring was ready yet. Yes, they said but Rudolf's wife had passed away a day before and the funeral was today. I was going to have to wait till tomorrow to pick it up. Tomorrow was the day of the rehearsal. Would you have told 2 Mobster's that tomorrow wasn't going to work, and that they had to get it then? I sure as hell didn't think that was a good idea. So the next morning, I got an early start to the store, gave my condolences to Rudolf, who did an absolutely amazing job on the ring, thanked the Canolli twins and booked it back to town just in time to be 45 minutes late to our rehearsal. I dropped a knee as soon as I saw Vanessa, she said yes again and the rest is history!

Tune in next time to see how Kyle was completely unable to get a single proposal idea to go according to plan!

The end result.


J-Gro said...

Whew! That's crazy. Nice writing Kyle! :) Very entertaining...

Sharon said...

Dear Kyle,
I hope you realize how very persistent you were in this saga. Vanessa could not have been more persistent than this. You never gave up and got a run-of-the-mill ring. You did not let Harvey stop you. And the ring is wonderful!
Certainly no one sees you as a little fish with Vanessa. Everyone struggles in this life. Nothing goes as planned--not completely. But the struggle is often the story. Think of any movie or novel. It is never about things going right all the time for the hero or heroine. No, there are internal struggles, and external roadblocks and difficulties--one after another. Who would read a book where none of this occurred?
We see this happening with the two of you. But frankly, it is a normal thing to happen. It is just that you two plan big things, so that setbacks are also big. Often people accept the ordinary, and the setbacks are ordinary. But I can tell you from being a psychologist and hearing people's stories 10 hours a day, that everyone has setbacks and things going wrong and struggles to deal with. You just don't see that looking at them from the outside, and imagine that things are going fine for them. However, after years of being a psychologist I must look like and respond like someone people would confide in because I go through the check out line and the checker confides to me that her husband is beating her. Trust me, most people have no clue about the struggles of those around them. You'd be shocked. You and Vanessa have more entertaining struggles. And you are reaching big, and publicly. We all think that you both are amazingly persistent and resilient, and we are very proud of your response when things do not go as planned. And we love you both.