Andrew and Jess met while we were working at UW-Madison's Trout Lake Research Center the summer of 2009. Andrew was working through Northland College and the Wisconsin DNR on a common loon research and monitoring project and Jess was working for UW's Center for Limnology as water chemistry sampler. Andrew had been planning a solo canoe trip around the area and Jess asked (demanded) that she join. After paddling through high waves and wading through belly button deep muck, they knew they wanted to hang out with each other a bit more. The summer ended and Andrew and Jess went back to their respective colleges to finish up their final year of school. They managed to keep dating through 300 miles distance with iChat, long drives, long bus rides, and a couple of other creative travel plans. The long distance continued for the summer of 2010 when Jess took a job in Idaho and Andrew worked another year at Trout Lake. After those seasonal jobs ended Jess and Andrew landed jobs on the same project in Oregon working with Chinook salmon! They have spent the past year and a half working on several different Fish and Wildlife seasonal projects. They lived together in two doublewides, an apartment, and a farmhouse following the seasonal work up and down the Oregon Coast. They have now moved back to the Midwest working for the Wisconsin DNR until Jess starts grad school at Texas Tech in January.
It was Christmas at the East household on December 27th. Mixed with all the presents there was a big chunk of oak sitting under the tree with a bow on it. Andrew and Janelle played Santa and divvied out the presents and I get the chunk 'o wood.
I obviously leave the chunk o' wood to last because I was a bit confused. So when I finally get to it, Andrew takes my hand and says that this piece of oak is to be made into a mixing bowl for our kitchen. However, it will take a lot of work to make, we will have to make it together, and we will have to continuously take care of it just like a marriage and then he asked me if this could represent our marriage... and I said YES!