This Christmas was probably the most memorable one of my life so far. I got to spend time with lots of family members, eat some bomb food, and just take it easy for a couple of days. Oh, and I also proposed to my girlfriend.

My name's Joe Maring, and I've been the News Editor here at Android Central since September 25, 2017. It's an incredibly busy job, and while I wear a lot of different hats when I'm not working, my most important one is being Kennedy Weston's boyfriend (er, now fiancé).

Kennedy and I have known each other since we were two, and we even grew up across the street from one another. We've been friends since then, and we stopped being knuckleheads and finally started dating in May of 2015. I won't bore you with all of the details, but it's been a fantastic couple of years and some of the best of my entire life.

Kennedy and I 😊

Throughout our relationship, Kennedy's made it incredibly obviously that she wanted to get married. From secretly (but not really) writing her name as "Kennedy Maring" in our ECO 202 class on a piece of paper to straight up asking "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO MARRY ME," she's ever so subtly been throwing hints my way for a good few months.

I've been waiting for the perfect time to finally pop the question, and seeing as how our favorite holiday is Christmas, I decided that it would be the ideal day to ask. I initially toyed with the idea of getting her a kitten and tying a ring to its collar, and while cute, I thought it was a bit too cheesy. After a bit more brainstorming, I ultimately decided that I wanted to incorporate technology into the proposal somehow, seeing as how it's been such a big part of my life. After talking with my friend Patrick Campanale, we came up with the perfect idea.

The kitten idea was cute, but I had something better in mind.

I'd been planning on getting Kennedy a Pixel 2 for Christmas, and I mentioned to Pat that I was thinking about making a custom wallpaper that had "Will you marry me?" on it, so she'd see the question as soon as she turned on the phone. Doing this would involve setting the phone up, choosing the wallpaper, and then having Kennedy turn on a phone that had already been set up. It would work, but it wouldn't be all that graceful.

However, Pat then reminded me that he was the leader of the team behind CarbonROM. As such, he could whip together a special version of the ROM that would allow Kennedy to go through the setup process herself and then see the custom wallpaper after entering all her information. This was a much better idea, but then I asked if we could take things a step further.

The custom setup screen, the response when tapping "no", and the wallpaper at the end.

Not sure if it would even be possible, I asked Pat if there was any way he could create a custom screen after the initial setup process that would ask the question. Kennedy would enter her Google account, add her fingerprint, etc., and after all that, she'd see another screen asking her if she'd like to marry me. Pat asked his lead developer, Christian Oder, if this is something that we'd be able to pull off, and Chris came back with good news.

After a week or so of putting everything together, Chris had completed the ROM. We spent a few hours one day installing it on Kennedy's Pixel 2 because I (of course) screwed something up during the whole process, but eventually, we got everything working.

The finished product looked like this.

On Christmas morning, Kennedy and I drove to my parents' house to open presents with each other. I made sure Kennedy's Pixel 2 was the last gift that she opened, and after taking off the wrapping paper, she wasn't all that surprised.

She'd become suspicious of me buying her the phone earlier in the month after I tried making up reasons she shouldn't buy the phone herself when the Google Store was running one of its many sales on it, but this worked out in my favor. Her guard was down, she wasn't expecting anything else aside from the phone, and then this happened.

I honestly couldn't have asked for the whole thing to go any better, and while it did take quite a bit of time and effort, it was beyond worth it. I've got a comfy apartment, job of my dreams, good friends, and thanks to Android, a beautiful fiance. ❤️

Special thanks to Patrick Campanale, Christian Oder, the entire CarbonROM team, and my many family members for making this possible. For more information on the technical side of how this all worked, check out CarbonROM's Gerrit commit here.