PORT RICHEY — The ape man of Castanea Drive wants his wedding ring back.
That's how Kurt Werner has been referring to himself in his lost ads, hoping to jog someone's memory. Halloween night, he and his wife, Michelle, were home passing out candy. He wore an ape mask to scare the kids.
"So it kind of served me right, I guess," said Kurt, 42.
He thinks his wedding ring, which was a little loose, fell off into a trick-or-treater's bag. He and Michelle, 31, have been married for only eight months. They've been together for a decade and always talked about getting married, but never got around to it. Life was busy, working and raising Michelle's two boys, who are now 11 and 10. Then Kurt decided it was time. "I figured we were right for each other," he said, and proposed at Applebee's, Michelle's favorite restaurant. Later they filled out the paperwork and went to the courthouse on March 8 in tank tops, shorts and flip-flops. Neither wanted the "hoopla" of a big wedding, he said. They did not write their own vows.
"We just went with the standard-issue stuff," Kurt said.
After the ceremony, they hosted a barbecue at their house.
"Nothing fancy," Kurt said. "After you've been together that long, people assumed we were already married."
They have no photos of the ring, which was gold with a white gold strip, maybe a size 7 or 9. Kurt can't remember. It was about $180 from Kmart, where Michelle works.
Kurt runs a lawn care business and spends every day working with his hands.
He's never worn jewelry and never wanted to. When he bought the ring, he figured he would lose it.
He didn't think it would be this soon, though.
The day after Halloween, when he realized what had happened, he and Michelle searched everywhere — the house, the cars, the mulch. Kurt went around to their neighbors' houses in Regency Park, asking if anyone had found it.
He posted lost ads. He's offering a reward. He's surprised at how used he had gotten to wearing it and how strange his hand feels without it.
Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6229.