The Time I Ruined My Own Engagement

ruined engagement


A few days before Christmas in 2004, my then-boyfriend, Zach, took me to a Christmas lights display. As you may recall, I’m cuckoo for Christmas, so the venue? Perfection. The icing on the cake was that a portion of the entrance fee went to local animal shelters. Since I like dogs more than most people, that was such a clutch move on my man’s part.

Everything was beautiful. There was a fresh blanket of snow and the shimmering lights reflected off of it like a mirror. It was cold, blustery. Everyone was bundled in their hats and scarves, huddling together for warmth or just because. My nose was dripping just enough to necessitate a wipe or snort so that I looked like a full-fledged coke addict. Which was quite romantic.

After walking around gloved hand in gloved hand, gnawing on some fudge, the chill finally seeped into my bones. I was ready to get on the road, but Zach had to use the bathroom first, which turned out to be code for mentally preparing himself for the big proposal. He left me warming myself by the fire pit, surrounded by small children who were constantly cautioned by their parents to not fall in. Oh, the romance just kept building.

By the time Zach returned, sixteen hours later, the falling temperatures had left me one frozen bitch.


Where have you been?!

Uh…there was a line. 

That was some line.

Wanna do one more lap before we leave?

NO!!!!! I’m freezing. Please, let’s just go.


So, we left. We were barely out of the parking lot when Zach presented me with a box:

I actually went to the gift shop. That’s what took me so long.

The small white bag with ribbon handles looked a little too extravagant for a gift shop, but it didn’t register. Not until I opened the box, saw the ring, and yelled:


Captain Obvious right here.

Zach pulled over, looked me in the face, and said:

I was hoping you would want to be my wife?

Of course I said hells yeah. And then we went home to make a new memory.

Not that kind of memory. But the kind where our dog ate my grandma’s Christmas gift: a jumbo-sized Hershey’s Bar that I had forgotten was wrapped and sitting under the tree.

Naturally, I freaked out. Zach and I stood on the porch in the frigid night air while our mutt ran around the back yard like a toddler on a sugar high. During some downtime, Zach tried to gag her with a plastic spoon in hopes of getting the chocolate to come back up. As one would expect, the spoon broke, she made it her new, jagged chew toy, and I freaked out some more.

I called our vet on his emergency line at 11:30 at night, rambling about chocolate–SO MUCH CHOCOLATE–and pointy plastic. While a lovely man, he spoke broken English and was quite difficult to understand in person let alone over the phone. What I did surmise from our conversation was the following:

Hydrogen peroxide…induce vomiting…could die…

Okay, got it. Make my dog puke by force-feeding her hydrogen peroxide or, on the very night that I got engaged to my one true love, my dog will die an untimely and chocolaty death.


One of the more important bits of information that I did not get from our vet was the amount of hydrogen peroxide required to make the dog upchuck. So we pried open her mouth and dumped half a friggin’ bottle of the stuff down her throat. It worked.

And it worked some more.

And then some more.

My new fiancé and I spent the remainder of the evening acting as the parents we would become 5 years later: keeping watch over our first baby, a half black lab, half German Shepherd, and aiming her vomit onto the tiled kitchen floor or, if really on our A-game, we managed to get her outside. Vomit-covered snow; that’s how we did Christmas that year. Also with a gorgeous diamond ring on my fat little finger and more love in my heart that I thought was humanly possible. So I ruined the official proposal and the dog ruined our carpet. At least it makes for a good story. Oh, and a good marriage. So there’s that, too.



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  1. Great story, I love it! A night that kept getting better and better. I love the part about making a new memory – not the kind we thought you were alluding to.

  2. I love that even though it was far from what he planned it turned out to be a perfect way to start a life together!! :)
    Kathy Radigan recently posted…What a Mom Says: A Roundup of the Best Parenting Lines of 2013My Profile

  3. Well, you got a hell of a story out of it!
    Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 recently posted…What Am I Supposed to Do With All These Christmas Cards?My Profile

  4. Cray-zeee story! At least it’s memorable! Thanks for sharing it!
    Norine of Science of Parenthood recently posted…An (Im)Perfectly Beautiful Christmas TreeMy Profile

  5. Not exactly what he planned but a great story all the same. Thanks for sharing Stephanie :).
    vernette recently posted…Write Epic ShitMy Profile

  6. What do you need with an uber romantic proposal story anyways? They are soooo predictable! I bet no one guessed “oh, I bet they spent the night full of dog vomit”.
    My Special Kind of Crazy recently posted…Ho-Ho-HOrrible Santa Pictures!My Profile

  7. It is a GREAT story and not one bit boring like so many engagement stories!! Awesome.
    Allie recently posted…Holiday Hit ListMy Profile

  8. I’m reading your reply just above me and laughing! “We strive for anti-boring. I mean we also strive for anti-puke, but beggars can’t be choosers.” So funny. And so true. Love your engagement story! Very cute. Not the dog vomit part, but you know what I’m saying. Great way to start a marriage fer sher. Glad your doggie was okay!

    I’m like you, though. Once I pass that limit of coldness, I become viciously bitchy. I would knock old ladies over in the street to find an indoor warm place. Cannot handle the cold. *burr*
    Beth Teliho recently posted…The Phone CallMy Profile

    • Doggie was okay and still kickin’ today! Praise peroxide :)

      There is just something about the discomfort of the cold that brings out the worst in me. If I’m sweating my face off, it’s cool, but if I’m shivering, look out!!

  9. Hilarious! Love this ! I just got engaged Monday before Xmas and I almost ruined the night by having a headache and saying i wanted to stay in when meanwhile our friends were waiting at the bar with champagne for our impromptu engagement party! Good thing the fiance new to bring water and aspirin and knew how to drag me out for the special moment we had when he proposed in the park before our party :)
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    • You just got engaged, like, a week ago?! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!! Oh how FUN! You didn’t ask, but here is my unsolicited advice anyway:

      LIVE. IT. UP.

      Planning can get stressful; enjoy it. If you’re not, say eff it and take a break. Delegate; you don’t have to do everything yourself. Ask for help. The night of your wedding, steal your man away for a few minutes and slow down long enough to enjoy one another because you’ll blink and the night will be over.

      Okay, I’m done. CONGRATS!!!!!!!! xo

  10. Messed up engagement stories are close to my heart, and I’m glad to hear you didn’t freeze to death and your dog didn’t die a chocolaty death. That story wouldn’t have been as funny. Thanks for the peroxide tip!
    Amy – Funny is Family recently posted…Dumb college relationships are hilarious when they happen to someone else.My Profile

  11. DYING!!! I cannot stop laughing! I expected nothing less from a Stephanie life story. Who needs boring when you can have a story like this! LOVE it!
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  12. It’s funny, but so true how many engagements go wrong b/c the girl has no idea & get’s annoyed at the poor guy who’s sweating bullets & scrambling to get everything right but can’t b/c the girl’s too annoyed. It’s horrible your dog got sick on one of the best nights of your life. But it is good practice for kids.
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  13. Steph, you are perfect. I love this so much. Babying that puppy with hydrogen peroxide and all? No better way to celebrate the start of a life together, I say.
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