Kali and Shai

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How We Met

We met on a swing shift (3pm-11pm) at work on one of my first days in the squadron back in August of 2012. We had chemistry immediately but at the time I was preoccupied. In fact, I was too nervous to even ask what his name was (I never read his name patch I guess) and so I asked an airman one afternoon who told me that it was “Shy” but he wasn’t sure if it was a callsign or real name. I proceeded to call him “Hey”…and I even had his last name spelled wrong in my phone for almost a year (Tzciony…oops lol). We spent more and more time together over the next year and even went on several non-dates. I found that we shared a love of documentaries and Cadbury chocolate eggs (among many things, but these were particularly special). Shai was the most wonderful friend and person through many of my questionable decisions and finally it pretty much hit me like a frying pan that he was exactly what I had always wanted and that there was never going to be someone better for me, or who would take better care of me, than Shai. I pretty much moved in the next day (& he didn’t try and stop me).

how they asked

In his words:

On February 1, 2014 Kali and I entered a London Gold jewelry store for the sole purpose of changing my watch battery. To my total surprise Kali was at the back of the store checking out engagement rings, which we had never discussed before. As it turns out, Kali was suddenly trying on the ring of her dreams, everything she had ever wanted all rolled into one beautiful 2 carat oval yellow diamond with a halo and a double band. It was even on sale, but only for February. We gave the saleswoman our info then left and didn’t discuss it again.

Two days later, I called and purchased the ring and had it delivered to my neighbor’s house.

For 2 months the ring and photo books (showing the past year of our lives) were hidden in my neighbor’s safe in an Amazon cardboard box. Two weeks before the cruise, I placed an identical, but empty, Amazon box in the garage directly in front of Kali’s parking spot so she could subliminally get used to seeing the box and to ensure she does not inquire about it. The day before we left for Orlando, my neighbor executed our covert operation as planned and switched the empty box with the much heavier box containing the engagement ring and photo books.

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I spent the two months prior to our cruise mostly avoiding discussion about engagement rings. At one point Kali even called London Gold and inquired about the ring, but I had already instructed the saleswoman to notify all the other sales reps to lie to Kali if she calls. After Kali told me she called and the ring of her dreams was gone, I, of course, apologized saying I had no idea that ring was so important to her and that no one ever called me about it. She insisted I was supposed to call them, not the other way around. I continued to manipulate any future conversations which culminated in me printing out some word docs that Kali had created and placing them into a special folder that “we would look at together once we’re finally in Tampa with her family and have some time.”

Two days before we left, I took Kali to get a manicure and pedicure (and yes, I absolutely got one too). She normally only gets pedicures but I talked her into getting a manicure and was even able to have her get that gel kind that apparenly will last longer. I didn’t want to take any chances that she would pick the polish off and not be happy with all the pictures of her hand!!

The day finally arrived for us to head to Orlando for the cruise. I placed everything into my carry-on backpack and ensured It never left my sight while we traveled. At one point, Kali even asked what I had in there because she could see how full and heavy it was; “books” I responded, “lots of books.” My next challenge was to make it thru airport and cruise security without having my backpack checked and my cover subsequently blown. As it turned out, my backpack was checked by cruise security but I managed to get Kali to wait by the conveyer belt while I whispered to the lady that there was engagement material for my proposal onboard the ship that night. She smiled and giggled then quickly checked my bag while ensuring Kali would not see its true contents. It was time to board the ship!

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My Carnival Cruise agent, Manny (who has helped me cruise since 2010), had accomplished his best work ever in laying the groundwork and truly setting me up for success. He emailed the head Maître D’ and the head Group Coordinator prior to our arrival and set in motion my entire proposal plan, which was to propose to Kali at dinner the first night while our song played over the loud speaker, followed by champagne being brought to our table, and the entire production captured by a photographer and videographer, and afterwards, waiting for us in our cabin would be chocolate covered strawberries and the photo book with a special card I wrote.

I boarded the ship ready to meet the Maître D and Group Coordinator at our pre-coordinated time as soon as I could get free from Kali. I immediately went to “change into my bathing suit” which took a lot longer than Kali expected. I eventually told her that the men’s bathroom was closed and I had to find another one which was not so easy, but I brought back some good info on events taking place on the ship that night. The truth is I ran downstairs to guest services and talked to Maya, the Group Coordinator, and handed her the CD with our song and a paper I typed detailing the entire plan. Then I ran to meet Roland, the head Maître D at the dining room, and discussed the plan with him. Finally, I changed into my bathing suit and ran back to the pool to have a fruity cocktail drink with Kali and explain how impossible it was to find a bathroom.

A couple hours later, Maya called our cabin to confirm the price of the photographer and videographer. Kali was half-asleep napping on the bed when I picked up the phone. Maya immediately told me she planned to hang up if Kali answered. I made sure to speak to her as if we had not met before and as if I was not sure why she was calling. After I said “that’s fine” regarding the cost, Maya hung up and I could hear the dial tone, but I continued speaking into the phone, “we haven’t noticed any problems with our sail & sign cards but we’ll be sure to let you know if either of them don’t work, thanks for the call.” Kali was too tired to even ask me what they were calling about.

Finally, it was time to get ready for dinner. I insisted we dress up fancy every night even though the only real formal dress up night was Captain’s Night the following night. Kali went along with the idea not realizing of course that I was anticipating us being on video and having a personal photographer take our engagement pictures all around the ship for one hour following the proposal.

Everything was perfect, and before I could remove the ring from the box and place it on Kali’s finger, she grabbed it from the box and placed it there herself!

The rest of the cruise was amazing. Kali gave me an early birthday present which was swimming with dolphins at Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas and she bought me an “engagement” watch onboard the ship. Our fellow cruise passengers constantly congratulated us and the crew was wonderful. We played some Craps and Kali experienced what it feels like to throw the dice for 45 minutes straight standing at the end of the table as everyone around her cheers constantly as we are all making money together.

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