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.:. DaveAndDenelle.com .:. About Us .:.


How We Met [in the male voice]

Once upon a time ... actually the time was late December 2009. I had sent out my traditional mass mailing of Christmas cards with all inclusive "Holiday Newsletter". This annual tradition includes about 85 recipients, who no matter how hard they try, can't seem to get off the mailing list. My friend Michele has been on the recipient side of the Holiday Newsletter for a number of years. Playing matchmaker, she had read the annual  story and realized her friend Dave was single. She knew a great gal, who was friends with her friend, Lori. Cupid went into action and she left me a really long voice mail message on my home machine, ending with, "Call me." Upon my return call, Michele convinced me to cold call Denelle that night and set something up. Michele was persistent and wouldn't take no for an answer.

I was terrified to call someone completely out of the blue, but I was more scared of explaining to Michele why I chickened out of calling. It took a few calls back and forth before we spoke and agreed to meet for drinks at Houlihan's on December 22. Since Denelle was about to go on vacation over school break with her mom, it either had to be before Christmas or after the new year. Since Dave is a certified hoarder, he, of course, still keeps the original voicemail message from Michele on his answering machine, refusing to delete it.

We had a terrific dinner and drink experience, but our second date would not be until January 9th, the day after her birthday, which I was not supposed to know yet. Thanks to cupid and a little birdie, I now had too much information that made her slightly uncomfortable . That is a long story that I will finish shortly. 

How We Met [that's what she said]

As I was leaving my second job on a Tuesday night in December, I noticed a bunch of missed calls and voicemails on my cell phone.  Some of the numbers I didn’t recognize, but I did recognize my friend Lori’s number.  Lori also works another job on Tuesday nights and she always gets out later than me, so I was worried that something might be wrong.  Instead of listening to the messages, I called her right away. 

“Did you listen to my message?”

“No, I saw you called, and I thought something might be wrong.“

“Oh, I got out early, so I called you.  Don’t be mad, but Michele Martino called and asked if you were dating anyone because she thinks you and her friend Dave would hit it off, so I gave her your number and told her to give it to him.”


I decided to wait until I got home to listen to the voicemails, one of which was from Dave.  I called Lori back once I listened to it, gave her a detailed account of what it said, and decided I would call him after work the next day since he didn’t sound like an axe murderer.  The fact that he was able to come across as funny and sweet without being creepy added to the fact that Michele was friends with him made me willing to call him back and MAYBE meet up for a drink. The next day I called as soon as classes were over, hoping I’d get a voice mail. However, in the wonderful world of Corporate America, people can answer their phones mid-day.  Dave answered, I introduced myself, we chatted for a bit and decided to meet the following Monday at Houlihan’s in Eatontown. 

We met up at Houlihan’s, had a drink, then another, and were seriously contemplating our third before we decided that we could make the commitment to actually eat together.  I remember perusing the menu and thinking about going the salad route, but I decided to order like I often do and got the bacon cheeseburger and was my usual pain in the ass and modified it to come plain, added sautéed onions and BBQ sauce and a side of ranch.  My friend’s grandma one time told me that in relationships, you should, “start out like you can hold out,” and I figured Dave should know what he was getting into in terms of me and ordering food.  So we ate, continued talking, and finally left about four hours after we got there.  Since Christmas was three days later and I was going to Kauai with my mom for the break, we had about two weeks to assess the situation and decide if a second date were in order.

The day before I left Kauai, I received a text from Dave wishing me a safe flight.  When I got home, we made plans to go to Juanito’s in Red Bank because I love it there, and it was early enough in the relationship that Dave wouldn’t tell me that he doesn’t really like Mexican food.  We met for dinner and then went to Jamain’s for drinks afterward.  I don’t really remember what we talked about, but we ended up closing the bar and then stood in the street talking for about an hour. 

I could go one about date three, date four, etc., but you get the picture.  We had a great first date, which led to date two and here we are.

Our Engagement [in the chorus of 'c' ... I mean her voice]

The big engagement story . . . I would feel that I were being a bit untruthful if I didn’t start out by saying that by the time we got engaged, the toe inside my head was tap, tap, tapping, as we had been dating for two and a half years, and I would have said yes if Dave had asked me at six months.  That being said, I thought Dave might ask on our trip to St. Croix, but since I didn’t want the vacation to be ruined by immense disappointment on my part if he didn’t ask, I had tried to convince myself that if he didn’t ask, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Although it probably would have been a long flight home for Dave, as he would have been trapped with me in a plane while I dissected the minutiae of where our relationship was headed.

Anyway, on our flight down, I was fairly convinced that he wasn’t going to ask because he was acting really normal (well, for Dave).  I figured that if he were going to ask, he would be nervous. (Clearly, I can over-analyze a situation.) We arrived fairly late on Saturday, barely making it to the restaurants before they closed for the night.  Sunday, we had a great morning and afternoon exploring Christiansted and Protestant Key, but I was wiped out by a case of food poisoning that evening.  While doing my best to suffer silently (at one point I told Dave that I would get ready to go to dinner in a few minutes), the night ended before it got started as I never made it out of bed other than to be sick.  However, I awoke bright and early Monday morning feeling much better.  When Dave woke up and asked me how I was feeling, my response was, “I’m starving!” At that point, he knew I was feeling myself again.  We made plans to rent a car and explore the island.  When I finished doing my hair, I came out into the room and Dave was on the balcony.  I figured he was enjoying the view and went to brush my teeth.  When I was finished, he was still on the balcony, which is a little odd, since Dave doesn’t like the heat.  I was ready to go, so I went out and struck the same stance he had.  He looked at me and I said, “So?" He then said, “So.”  I then gave him a hands-up, what-are-we-doing gesture, and then he gave it back to me.  For a second I thought to myself, “What are we, eight?”  But then he reached into his pocket, took out a ring box, got down on one knee and said, “Denel-l-l-l-l-le . . . “ and I said, “Yes-s-s-s- . . .” “Will you marry me?” “Yes!”

 We decided not to tell anyone back home about our news because we wanted to savor being engaged all by ourselves.  It was nice to have a week of no one asking, “Have you set a date?”, “How many attendants are you having?”, “What kind of flowers do you want?”, “How are you going to wear your hair?”, etc.  While we know that these questions are asked out of genuine interest, it was nice to just enjoy being together and basking in the moment.


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