I knew I wanted my wedding ring to be unique and special. When I was looking at rings in the magazines after Chris and I started talking about marriage, I was, um, how shall I say? Unimpressed. They all looked the same. I was up to my eyeballs in platinum and diamonds and princess settings. Anything that was even remotely unique was in the 5 digit price range- which was about 4 digits too high.
I decided I wanted to start looking at Antique stores. Chris and I drove down to a little Dutch town South of where we were living in CA at the time called Solvang one afternoon because they have a killer antique store that is packed with jewelry. And clocks. We scoured the cases all over this giant store, and I began to think I would never find "the ring" that I knew I wanted but still had no picture of in my head. We were just about to leave and go home- deflated and defeated- when I saw a glass case out of the corner of my eye that was marked "SALE". In passing, I glanced in the case- expecting to find nothing.
That's when I saw my beautiful ring. At first, I thought it was just one piece. I knew that I definitely wanted two separate rings (engagement and wedding band), but I liked this one so much that I just had to see it. The elderly woman bent behind the case and opened it and I tried to direct her shaky fingers towards the ring of my dreams without sounding too anxious.
"That one... Right there. No,no,no! To the left! No, no! MY left! No, the one behind that one...or in front I guess... No! YES! THAT one!"
She gently picked it up and placed it on a square of velvet on the counter. And as she laid it down, it split in two. It was two pieces afterall! I started gushing that this was the one I wanted-- that it was perfect and everything I was looking for and OH MY GOSH let's get it. can we can we can we pretty pleeeease??? The price was even less than we'd planned on paying. Chris looked at me like the spaz that I was and calmly suggested that I TRY IT ON FIRST.
It fit perfectly.
We were informed that it was designed and crafted in the 1920's- probably in England because of the sapphire/Diamond combo that is so common over there.
I practically floated out of the store and Chris was kind enough to let me "try it on" for another 5 minutes before he snatched it away and hid it from me-- I wasn't meant to have the ring for another couple of months.
**OK, now let's Fast Forward a bit to the week after our honeymoon...**
Chris was in Brazil.
I was working at the Italian restaurant across the street from our house.
And half of my beautiful ring was lying at the bottom of the restaurant's overflow drain that was tucked underneath the front cabinet.
Yes. I was showing my ring to one of the girls I worked with, and as I tried to gently slip it off my finger, the piece with the sapphire on it got stuck a little and then suddenly shot off my knuckle and landed on the floor of the restaurant. I saw it roll under the cabinet and I held my breath as everything went into slow-motion. In my gut I just knew it had gone down the drain under there. But we all desperately looked and looked around the area anyways. It was nowhere to be found.
In one of the most controlled moments of my life, I was able to stay calm. I kept saying, "It's just a ring. It's just a ring. It's just a ring." and I held my stuff together as we all tried to come up with a rescue plan.
It was the busiest time of night in the busiest little Italian Joint in town, so our resources and time were limited. But that didn't stop my amazing co-workers from coming together and giving all they had to help save my ring. The ladies offered emotional support as the guys scurried around and tried to figure out a way to get down that drain without ripping all the cabinets off the wall. They told everyone not to use the water from the sinks for fear it would sweep the ring away forever. They tried fishing down there with wire coat hangers- but they just couldn't see what they were doing and there was just no way it was going to work.
My manager, Bill, was the ring leader in the effort. (HA! no pun intended.) He jumped in his car and drove all the way to his neighbor's house to borrow his ShopVac. He was going to suck the ring out. When he returned, he tried to maneuver the vacuum hose down the drain and then he turned the thing on. WHHHIRRRR!!! This was no quiet ShopVac. It was LOUD. And the people in the restaurant began to look up from their romantic meals and ask each other, "What on earth is that god-awful sound??"
But that didn't stop Bill... Oh no! He tried and tried and tried, but it was no use. The vacuum wasn't sucking anything up. After about an hour at the attempt, I started to give up all hope. I was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to tell my husband of one week that I'd lost my precious ring already.
That's when Wonder Bill got the idea to take the hard plastic fitting off of the end of the vacuum hose and try to feed it down the drain that way instead.
He got it down there, and he flipped the switch. WHHIIIRRRRR!!!! This time, we immediately heard a LOT of stuff get sucked up into the vacuum. (I tried to type the noise it made, but it kept looking like the 'F' word. So, I'll spare you the sound effects...) We all crowded around the ShopVac as Bill opened it up to look inside the compartment.
Inside was the most foul looking, horrid smelling goo-ish substance that I have EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. And I'm the mother of a toddler! Ezra's diapers couldn't hold a candle to this sludge that had been brewing in this sink drain for 10 years. Even this didn't slow Bill down, however. He slapped on a pair of rubber gloves and dove right into it.
Time stood still.
Almost immediately, he said, "Ahhh...what's this??"
Inside the sludgy-goo, he had found MY RING. He held it up so that I could see it from where I was sitting....
And that's when I started bawling like a little baby.