Craig and I have been dating since October 2013 but we've known each other for almost 10 years! We actually dated in college for a hot second, but that didn't work out (we were both so young). We stayed friends but time and distance allowed us to drift apart.
We re-met, if you will, at El Bait Shop on September 14, 2013. I remember the date because I had just finished working the Des Moines Symphony's season debut concert and was meeting some musician friends at El Bait Shop. My friend Jessie and I got to the bar a little late so the friends we were meeting had already found a table. We sat down, ordered our drinks, and started talking about the concert. After about 15 minutes of this, and completely out of nowhere, the table next to us erupted in a VERY loud shout of "PAMELA NEUBAUER." I looked over at the table, completely bewildered, trying to find a face I recognized when (you probably guessed it) Craig stood up with a huge goofy grin on his face and ran over to give me a hug.
We hadn't seen each other for 3 1/2 years but we ended up talking for over an hour (sorry for completely ignoring you that night, Jessie) about what we'd been up to the last few years, what we were currently doing, and many other things. Jessie and I left the same time that Craig and a couple of his friends left. Once we got to the parking lot Craig kept asking Jessie and me if we wanted to go to Fong's with them (an asian-fusion pizza joint) but it was late and we were tired so we declined. Before we left, Craig asked for my number and said that maybe we could go climbing or fishing sometime. I had an incredibly enjoyable night but really didn't think that Craig and I would see each other again...I am so happy I was wrong!
We 'hung-out' through October and November and in December we had the DTR conversation (which I didn't know was a thing until afterwards. Also, DTR stands for 'Defining the Relationship.') because he was my date to my office holiday party and I wanted to know what to tell people when they asked me who he was. I was so happy to finally get to call him my boyfriend and now I'm really excited to call him something else...
This past Friday, Craig asked if we could go hiking at Ledges State Park the next day. I looked at the weather and it looked like it was going to be cold, cloudy, and windy. I also wanted to visit my brother so our dogs could play together and wear each other out. Craig wasn't having any of it and just said, "Oh, I think we can bundle up and it won't be bad" (or something of the like). The next day he made a delicious breakfast for us and then we bundled up, poured some coffee to bring with us, and loaded Chip (our dog) in the Jeep. We had (what I thought) was normal conversation all the way to Ledges (it's nearly a 50 minute drive from our house). We got to the park, unloaded Chip and started walking. We took the same trail path we took when we were there the fall before when we were camping. We reached a spot that we had stopped at the last time we were hiking and debated on if we wanted to turn around (and go the same way we'd gone before) or keep going on a new path. Before we got to a decision, Craig said "before we continue on this adventure, I'd like to ask you to go on a different adventure with me." He knelt down, pulled out the ring box, and through tears and a cracking voice asked "Pam, will you marry me?" I quickly replied YES!!!!