Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Our favorite proposals: Signs do work

There are many wonderful proposal stories, but I believe that mine was the most special and romantic one that I could imagine.  First, though, I need to share some background.  My guy and I had talked several times about a trip to Las Vegas.   He had been there several times and had told me about it, but I had never been there.  We decided that this summer would be a great time for us both to go, so we began to make plans for our trip.  This was about 3 months before the actual date.   Every day heightened my excitement for the trip.

John is a very detail-oriented person and we researched almost every aspect of the trip.  He asked me what my dream trip would be like.   My first choices were a gondola ride in the canal at the Venetian and to see Celine Dion.  From the time I first heard about the gondola ride, I thought how romantic that would be. 
      
That is all that he needed to start his plan.  He loves to think of unique ideas and has the persistence and drive to make them work.   His first call was to Caesar’s Palace to Bill H. whom he had met on previous trips.  The gondola ride was his next mission.  He spent countless hours mulling over different scenarios when one day he got “the idea”. 

He told me that he had called the Venetian and talked with one of the managers (which he did).  He said that she told him that they were launching a new aspect of the gondola ride – a Trivia cruise.  The gondolier would pose a question to one of the passengers and if the correct answer was given, the couple could win a dinner for two at an elegant restaurant.   Of course I didn’t question him and assumed that this was a legitimate program.  

This is what I knew at the time.   Little did I know the rest of the story. . . .

As I said before, John is a persistent, romantic, detail oriented man who, when he cares deeply, will go to any length to make something work.  He decided that when he asked me to marry him, that he wanted that, too, to be unique.   He thought that a sign might be a good solution.  He found a Texas-based company online (we’re from Ohio) that makes signs.  He got to know the staff well with all of the calls and planning.  After several exchanges between him and the company, it was decided that it would be a 4’x8’ vinyl sign – red with white lettering and roses in the corners.  He decided to avoid any erroneous proposals, that he would use his nickname for me on the sign. 

After several calls to the manager of the gondola ride, he was finally told that he could not hang the sign from one of the bridges, so being the detail oriented, creative person that he is, he thought of  having someone hold the sign and unfold it as the boat approached.

The day finally came for us to leave for Las Vegas.  Our flight was great and, thanks to Bill at Caesar’s Palace, we were met at the airport by a waiting limo.  It was my first experience for that type of luxury and I knew immediately I could get used to this.  We were taken to the registration desk where John asked me to wait while he went to check in.  He was gone for some time and I feared that there was some problem.  He came out in frustration and told me that the room wasn’t ready yet but there was another problem that he would tell me about later.   I began to wonder if the Vegas luck was not going to be on our side.

After quite some time, he came back and said that the issue was being taken care of.   Our room was ready shortly after.  We walked into our beautiful suite overlooking the fountains at the Bellagio (Romantic!!)  John suggested that I get unpacked and that he would go downstairs to see Bill and he would call me shortly. 

Again, little did I know!!  The “real story” was that the sign which was to have been there that morning was not there.  It did arrive in the meantime and he frantically picked up the sign at the desk at Caesars, caught a cab to the Venetian and made his way through the maze of shops to the gondola ride office.  The lady he had spoken with was not there and he had no one to hold the sign.  He found two people in the crowd to hold the sign and paid them $20. each for their efforts (although he was told by some that they would love to do it for free just to be part of the excitement).  

At that point, John called me and told me a story about how he rode to the Venetian with Bill to drop something off and why didn’t I catch a cab and meet him there for the gondola ride. Ok!?  So, I found my way outside and made my way to the Venetian.  I asked several people for directions and finally found him. 

John seemed somewhat nervous, but I assumed it was due to the excitement of just actually being in Vegas.  We boarded the gondola with a very nice young lady gondolier (who didn’t know any details of our trip) As we pulled out from the dock, she explained that it was good luck and that dreams will come true to kiss as we passed under the bridges.  As we went under the first bridge, we complied (not too hard to do!).  Just after we passed under the first bridge, I turned around and in front of me on the second bridge was a large sign that said, “Babygirl, Will You Marry Me?  Love, John S  

I was shocked and thrilled.  The crowd cheered above us and there were several tears – not only in the boat, but from several of the onlookers. There were oohs and aahs all around.  The beautiful ring that was so lovingly chosen for me was placed on my finger and the crowd cheered.  Our lovely gondolier was so emotional that she couldn’t sing.   I had no idea that my first hours in Vegas would bring such wonderful things.   Dreams do come true and signs do work.

The rest of the trip was perfect.  Celine Dion was fabulous.  And the early morning limo to the airport that Caesars provided put the icing on the cake so to speak.   Even as we flew home, the fairy tale continued.  The flight attendant, after hearing our story, announced our news to the plane and they clapped.  As we departed the plane, the attendant hugged us both and handed us a bottle of champagne.

My persistent, detail oriented fiancĂ©e made this girl one very “lucky” person.  I can never express my amazement and love to him for his romantic plan.  Thank you to Sarah for assisting in the absolutely perfect Nexus Diamond and for keeping in touch all through the process.  Caesar’s Palace staff and facility was amazing. Our special friend Bill was also wonderful with all of the details that made this a perfect Fairy Tale trip.  We look forward to our next trip to Caesar’s Palace – most likely for our honeymoon!

p.s.  Please forgive the blurry photo!  I was shaky and excited, but at least I recorded the moment and how I felt!  The other photo was after returning home where I was more calm!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rachel reflects on her sabbatical trip

Looking back on the trip.....

After being back at Planet DNL for a bit now, I have had a chance to look back and reflect on my Sabbatical Trip and how it has had an impact on my life.

Spending time away from our busy offices at DNL gave me a real opportunity to spend time out in nature as well as the chance to learn something new while volunteering. I had the sad but rare opportunity to also witness people that had lost all of their own worldly positions as the wildfires spread in Arizona and surrounding states more and more people needed help, clean clothes, and bottled drinking water. I was able to help out packing supplies; and just listening to their stories - in cases of disaster, it is some times a good thing to just have someone to listen to - and that is what I was there for - to help others.

Everyone here at DNL is aware that I absolutely love sunshine/heat/swimming....Arizona in June? ABSOLUTELY :) It was perfect for me; with temps up in the 112+ degree range, I was in heaven; enjoying hiking in the mountains to view the terrain, visiting Sedona to experience what many people call "mystical" and rafting to test my own, personal physical strength - it was all amazing.

I only hope that others learn from Diamond Nexus Labs what it means to work for a company that truly does give extraordinary experiences to it's employees.

It was a wonderful, growing experience that I will never forget - Thank You Planet DNL.

Rachel

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Employee sabbatical: Whitewater rafting and volunteering

The weekend of Friday-Saturday-Sunday was dedicated solely to spending time whitewater rafting down the CO river; and it was by far one of the most amazing adventures that I have been on.

The temps outside ranged from 100 degrees; to over 112 degrees within our rafts - and yet the River was absolutely freezing cold and trust me; I had plenty of water splashed up over my face and body to the point whereas my fingers and hands were numb! 

Any time that a Guide reminds you #1 You are in the wild - it is THIER home NOT yours #2 Under NO conditions are you to remove your crash helmet and finally my favorite #3 Do NOT walk towards the glowing lights at night; those would be the eyes of whatever wild animal is eyeing you at the time....you know that you are truly "roughing it" in nature. LOL

AMAZING....It was the word of the weekend - The beauty of nature was awesome, watching wild coyotes at night in the shadows, the viewing the stars at night - no city lights / street lights - just natures own "lights" tons and tons of stars - no clouds / no congestion to clog your mind.

We were up early, each day at 5am - felt like 7am to me - and on the water within the hour. I thought that my months of training and cardio would show; boy, by Day #3 my arms were crying out and my legs/back were ready to give in; but I would never trade the landscape views for anything, and knowing that I was able to make it down the waters and survive - it is something that I will take with me for the rest of my life. :)

It is Monday night around 6:30pm AZ time; I did spend hours today volunteering / training today. On average the Center does have between 100-200 children per month; between the ages of 5-18 years of age. It always amazes me to meet and greet the people the spend time volunteering to help others; the people that I have already met are kindhearted and giving in their time & talents. Before my first day had ended I had the opportunity to spend time with a young girl of 8 years of age; we played trivia games, spoke of her favorite TV Show The Wizards of Waverly Place, and even read a children's book a while.

It is amazing how much time and talent volunteers give freely to help in times of need when children are alone and want someone to spend time with. I remember being sick with my cancer; any time that people are able to give, even just to talk - makes all of the difference.

I have so much to learn in life; this Sabbatical so far has taught me so much.

Rachel