Saturday, July 14, 2007

I'm Getting Married In the Early Afternoon

Just so I might someday brag that so dedicated am I to The Readers that I posted on my wedding day:

The vast majority of the rehearsal was employed in Josh The Pilot and I looking at each other all, "Do you feel weird? Because I feel weird. This is weird."

Weddings bring about huddled masses like this: Esther The Pending Sister-In-Law, Julie The Nephews Mama, Jim The Small Child Nephew, Carah The BFFE, and my father. That's a basketball team you want on your NCAA bracket.

I stood with the five of them at the back of church awaiting processional instructions. Processing at my church is a major logistical operation; there's an enormous Hot Springs Portable Spa holy water font smack at the bottom of the aisle, and you have to commit to breaking right or left the second you enter the church. There was a hushed conference about this, and at last we consulted the priest, who confirmed that we should "just surprise people."

I untensed slightly when we got everybody up the aisle--including, blessedly, a ring pillow-one-handing Jim--and concentrated on the creation of this most prayerful and dignified event, a moment solemnized when I glanced from the altar to see the groomsmen doing the Wave in their pew.

The dinner part was particularly awesome, because I got clothes and jewelery. Lois The Pending Mother-In-Law plaided me into the clan, because that is what happens when a German marries a Norwegian Scot on Bastille Day.

All tables were fully stocked with Legos, including the bridal party's, which allowed us to appreciate the Best. Groom Cake. Topper. Ever:

The bachelor party is currently underway, complete with the bachelor's sister, a cat, and both of Fletch The Extremist's parents. The less I know about this, the better. So since my fiance met this site before he met me, here's a rehearsal dinner goodnight kiss:

The next time I see this man will be at the altar. Don't have much else planned for tomorrow; I think I'll get married.

rehearsed at:

Friday, July 13, 2007

It's Not About the Toasters

Tomorrow is my wedding day.

Life is not... normal. My gel fingernails are painted pale blue, and this week my mother stayed up until one in the morning using a toothpick to poke ribbon through the holes of two dozen thank-you favors.

Today she will iron the skirt of the dress I have been fretting over for seven months. On her own wedding day, she and her maid of honor ironed her train, then watched while my grandfather, after she carefully wedged into the family station wagon, balled it up and tossed it in after her.

I doubt anyone noticed the wrinkled mass it became, as they were likely too busy wondering how we as a nation could produce the following fashion statement, modeled here by my father:

And in twenty years, I'm quite sure that viewings of pictures from my own wedding day will result in deep self-analysis. Why blue fingernails? Pewter waistcoats on the tuxes, why?

The reception will be unsurpassed in surreality, as College World collides with Cousin World, In-Law World, High School World, and People I Met At a Mystery Science Theater 3000 Convention World. Nuns who knew me from my birth will break bread with the people I met at wine education training.

From the snatches I can recall of my sister's wedding, it will go fast, and it will go like this: I'll be standing at the altar, and the one thing I'll be thinking is "This... is happening." After hours of horrible little details and matching fonts, it will be happening.

I want to marry with a clean soul, and so I hereby offer apologies to anyone I have angered, offended, hurt, upset, or cut off in traffic. I did a lot of these things, particularly recently, and the fact that my pending sister-in-law's dress arrived at 11:21 AM yesterday from Hong Kong is no excuse.

The primary aspect of this entire procedure that will stay with me is the overwhelming kindness of those who surround me. Last night I saw my best friend's mother on her hands and knees, pinning the ice blue hem of The Bridesmaid Dress That Traveled Round the World. Two college friends watched me bury my face in my hands and announce that I had three weeks to teach myself advanced PowerPoint for the reception slide show, and offered to give a work holiday over to pulling together a DVD so I wouldn't have to worry about it. My sister, between scrubbing the floor and cleaning the bathroom as her two sons bounced around her, sat down at the kitchen table and painted my nails. Three coats.

And you, The Readers, quite overwhelmed me with your registry generosity. I could win a Pulitzer (actually-- no I couldn't) and it would never mean as much as your sewing machines and ice scoops.

I do not deserve these people. They seem not to notice, which I don't deserve either.

I've been telling everyone I was on my own in Florida, but the fact is I was never alone. I will go to my wedding from my father's house after six weeks of concentrated family time. Last week I met my mother, sister, and nephews at a department store; as I came around the corner of the aisle Will The Baby Nephew looked up at me from his stroller and smiled. The week before that, he toddled three and a half steps forward into my arms; the week before that, his older brother set his hands on my shoulders and leaned over my computer screen, gazing wonderingly at pictures of his royal self.

There's a scene in The Ten Commandments, the Official Biblical Epic of BlondeChampagne, in which Moses, MOOOOOSES!, after discovering he is Hebrew, looks at his hands, saying, "What change is there in me?... These are the same hands, the same arms, the same face that were mine a moment ago." Somehow I've been under the impression that I'll be this completely different person after marrying-- like I'll be an Official Grown-Up, or somehow competent, or something. I doubt it.

But I'll let you know.

22.5 hours at:

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ruined, Ruined, Ruined

When she was a bride, Carah The BFFE used to laugh off pending wedding cataclysms by saying "Well, now my Perfect Day will be ruinedruinedruined!" Today I officially entered Phase V of wedding planning: Raging at Totally Unrelated Persons.

One bridesmaids dress is still somewhere between here and Hong Kong, I lost a nail (not the metal kind that hold a house together; the really important kind) and the last sheet of table assignment cards came out of the printer ruinedruinedruined. So I got me hence to the official headquarters of the bargain bride, and realized I also needed foam-backed poster board.

You'd think a major craft chain would have foam-backed poster board; I couldn't find it. These places are now so attuned to the crappy handmade needs of the nation that they provide solar system science project styrofoam balls in handy pre-packaged form. A grade school education is simply not complete until the student has observed her father attempting to hack Jupiter in half with an electric bread knife.

So this added to my bitterness, and as I quietly seethed at cross-stitch kits featuring Jesus and Moses a customer service person walked directly into a bridal maelstrom.


ME: Yes, I'm looking for foam-backed poster board.

CUSTOMER SERVICE PERSON: Actually that's not my depar--



ME: Thank you.

through customs at:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Four days before the wedding, we shall now discuss the entire point of marriage.

Health insurance.

It made me cry, the health insurance. After five years of without and just-as-good-as-without, I now had Pile o' Plans. Blue Cross. Aetna. United HealthCare. They wanted to cover me. They were advertising to me and my pre-existing conditions, with big glossy brochures and photos of children of many races, all because I am marrying a man employed by the federal government. It's a thick bureaucratic line between the co-pay have and have-nots, and that line is built of many, many reams of paper intent upon informing me that kidney transplants and initial pap smears are covered, but adult orthodontia and sex-change operations are not.

My OCD and I are lumped right in with substance abuse cases. Awesome. I love it when people view a neurological disorder through the same legal lens as Babette the Crackwhore's next hit! It's a good day here in Bridesville.

ppo at:

Monday, July 09, 2007

I Arrive

Now I have a long way to go in my writing career before I am where I want to be, but I've at least captured the attention of that august publication, Western Hills Press, serving all of Bridgetown, Westwood, and parts of greater Cheviot. I have Arrived. An MFA, publication with Random House, appointment as a college teacher-- this impressed absolutely no one in the old neighborhood. But...the Western Hills Press! Well! My mother's phone rang for days.

The Press ran a very kind piece on Saturday's Waldenbooks signing for Drink to the Lasses, several pages after an article headlined "Covedale Neighbors Don't Want White Castle" (Resident quote: "We don't want anybody to have a reason to be out on the street at 3 o'clock in the morning to get a 50-cent hamburger.") There is a picture of me smiling at an ad for the St. John's Festival and Chicken Dinner.

It was an opportunity to lay aside The Bride and become The Author for a couple hours. I was still, however, very heavily drugged.

The signing was populated by many generous people, including three of my grade school teachers who probably came just to see for themselves that I had not, contrary to the very highest expectations, wound up in jail.

This is Mrs. Akers and Miss Krummen. Like all grade school teachers, they do not have first names. Mrs. Akers taught fifth grade language arts and groomed me as a God, Flag and Country speech contest candidate until I got all the way to sectionals and blanked out in the middle of a paragraph about Ronald Reagan. Miss Krummen yelled at me once for talking in church. All seems forgiven, however, now that I'm in the Big Time.

Miss Woods, who taught me in first grade, was there, too, and shook my hand, saying, "Congratulations. I hope your spelling has improved."

The audience also included two nuns, one baby, a cousin five times removed, the people who used to live across the cul-de-sac from us, and a guy who picked up the book and attempted to hand me a roll of coins. A particular favorite was Mark The Reader, who stood in line very, very patiently while I conducted twenty-minute conversations with each customer, all of a high literary nature ("Did you hear Father David isn't pastor there any more? Oh, and Anglea Turchiano, did she have the baby yet?...Twins! Which reminds me, are you still in touch with...")

There was even time for a flashback photo:

Allow me to direct your attention to the silently judgmental display book pointing directly at my head:

It was time to refill my government-controlled, highly potent OCD meds. I took my lovely little amber bottle to the brand-new chain drugstore down the street.

The pharmacist read off the long list of potential interactions, then looked up at me and said, "Weren't you in the Western Hills Press?"

violently colliding worlds at

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