geoffrey gauchet

I'm at Engaged w/ @zeldamac

On Saturday, Rhea and I got engaged! I’ve been secretly planning the proposal since the beginning of June. I had the evening planned: we’d go catch a movie at the newly-revamped Theatres at Canal Place, complete with full menu and a call button to have your food delivered without missing the movie, and then we’d take a short cruise up and down the Mississippi River on the Natchez Steamboat, the last remaining steamboat in operation on the Mississippi River. One thing was missing.

The actual proposal.

We’ve discussed getting married and things we both liked and didn’t like. One thing we both agreed on: in public is just too much. Rhea also felt the one-knee thing would make her uncomfortable and I was cool with that. So, grandiose, public traditional proposal was out. I had a couple of ideas.

We’re both nerdy and geeky people, and we’re also not a traditional couple, so I need a non-traditional, nerdy way to do it. One option was to write a little PHP script that, when activated from my phone, would send her a text message from a random e-mail address. I’d encourage her to ask who it is, then it’d say “I have a question for you” then after her reply, it’d send just a picture of the ring, at which time I’d ask her, with the ring actually in my hand. It was a good idea, but depended on Verizon being helpful, my webserver being up, and her not getting bored with wondering who this random “person” was. It was too much left up to chance. (I have the PHP written if anyone wants it.)

Then I got an idea. We’re both big foursquare junkies and having developed the Palm webOS foursquare app, I had great knowledge of how the service worked and the API. I decided a great idea would be to create a tip on the Natchez venue asking her to marry me. Since we’re friends on foursquare, when she checked-in to the steamboat, the tip would pop up: “Since you’re at Steamboat Natchez, Geoff G says ‘RHEA: Will you marry me?’”. It was perfect! Even if she expected the proposal to happen that night (she didn’t), this would still catch her off guard. There was one little problem.

The Natchez is walking distance from the movie theatre. If the tip was created before we went to the movie, checking-in to the movies would’ve shown the tip from the Natchez as a nearby suggestion. On top of that, we had 45 minutes between the movie ending and boarding time on the Natchez, so there was a good chance we’d stop in somewhere else in the Quarter where we’d check-in and that’d ruin it.

I e-mailed Naveen at foursquare to verify how the tips worked to make sure it would work perfectly. He gave me some pointers and some insight and wished me luck.

So I created a small PHP script (again) that just had a giant SUBMIT button. While in the bathroom at the movies, I loaded up the page on my phone and left the webbrowser open and put the phone in my pocket. After we walked around a bit, as soon as we got in line at the Natchez, I pulled out my phone, tapped “SUBMIT” and put my phone away. I had to be quick because we have a rule that we don’t get on our phones on dates (except to check-in, of course!).

We begin to board the boat (nervous that there’d be a metal detector for security… luckily there wasn’t!) and I moved us to the right side of the boat since everyone was on the left side. She wanted to explore the boat, but I kept forcing us to stay away from everyone. Finally I got her to sit down as we looked out over the Mississippi River and I said “Oh, we should check-in.” I watched as she opened the app and it loaded venues. Of course, she decides to type a shout, adding to the suspense. Once I saw her tap “Check-in” I pulled the ring out of my pocket and waited. She turned to me, a cross between nervous, excited, and confused, and asked “Really?” and I motioned down toward my lap where I was holding (and hiding) the ring. (She asked “Really?” because I’ve been doing fake proposals to her for the last year or so to throw her off the trail. Things like at a bar, getting on one knee and saying “Rhea, will you… hold my beer while I tie my shoe?”)

She said “Yes”, and all is great! As a bonus, we both unlocked the “I’m on a boat!” badge.

I didn’t manage to get a screenshot of the tip up on her phone (too much excitement), but here’s a link to the tip on the foursquare website.

So, thanks to Naveen and Harry at foursquare for giving me insight on the pop-up tips feature of foursquare. We’re both super excited and happy!

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