a great time was had by all

I write to all of you now with a platinum wedding band on my left ring finger. We will be departing on our honeymoon in about three hours. It would take far longer than that to tell you everything that happened in the last three days, and you, my faithful readers, will have to be content with a few impressions.

On the whole, I think the wedding turned out great. There were a few minor issues as the wedding day progressed, but nothing that anyone who hadn’t read all the contracts would really notice. I can recall a point at the reception on Saturday night when the DJ started to play the old swing tune “In The Mood”. I looked out on the dance floor and saw two or three different generations of people doing the jitterbug. I knew then that we were probably throwing one hell of a party.

I now understand why there are wedding rehearsals. Yes, there is a need to have everyone understand the structure of the ritual so they don’t look stupid when the day comes. I also now understand that it is also needed to prevent skittish brides and grooms from freaking out when the ceremony actually comes. A significant part of my brain actually left the planet as we were going through the rehearsal and didn’t completely come back to earth until a few hours (and few beers) later during the rehearsal dinner. I was much calmer on The Big Day for the experience though.

Many memorable people were part of our wedding, but I think the most memorable for me was my Aunt R. Her father (my Dad’s father) was always more than a bit of trickster. I see this quality in my Dad, but, seeing Aunt R. again really reminded me of this. She also gave me the “lecture” that Wife S. and I need to “have lots of boys” to help preserve the Geek family name — running down the list of male heirs to the family name, I disovered that there is me and one second cousin likely to pass the family name on. Eeeeek! Finally, my Dad was thrilled to actually have someone from his family attend an event we put on — that hasn’t happened before.

Rather than toss bouquets and garters, we decided to do a dance where all married couples were brought to the dance floor and then dismissed based how long they had been married — the newly married couple (us) first, the longest married couple last. That last couple would then get the bridal bouquet. The first few rounds of this as the DJ called out “5 years… 10 years… 15 years” were largely uneventful. Once the DJ got past 20 years, people started to gather around the dance floor and applaud, however. I see it as a testament to the character of both sides of our family and their friends that there were still slightly more than half a dozen couples on the dance floor when the DJ passed 40 years. The DJ had been counting in increments of five years, but switched to single year increments after 45 years.

It ultimately came down to two couples: my Mom’s cousin P. and his wife M., and, Wife S.’s great-aunt B. and great-uncle T. People really began to applaud when the count passed 50 years. P. and M. finally faded at 53 years. B. and T. won with 59 years. Wife S. and I figured early on that B. and T. would win when we planned this; I was very surprised and touched how much of a contest my family made it though.

There were a few notable absences. The two professors I invited from my grad student days mysteriously did not attend, even though they said they were coming. My dissertation advisor D. sent an e-mail on the day saying that something came up and would not be able to attend. The other professor, P., e-mailed me on Friday that he was looking forward to coming. Finally, a friend S. and her boyfriend T. were mysteriously absent. She more or less bullied herself onto the guest list; we weren’t certain if we should invite her, but, she introduced me to one of my groomsmen and his wife. In the end, she seemed thrilled to attend and her absence was puzzling. Ironically, all of these people were seated at the same table at the reception, making a table of eight into a table of two.

I can’t end this on an unhappy note, however. The day was too full of warm, wonderful memories. Probably one of the best came when Wife S. and I left the reception for our hotel suite. I remember having this warm, loving feeling that it was finally just her and me again after three days of chaos. It is still with me, and I hope it lasts for a long, long, LONG, time.

p.s. Please check out wildchica. She’s a freelance writer, a friend, and she attended the wedding. She’s just started a diary a few weeks back. For those curious about the wedding while Wife S. and I honeymoon, maybe she will tell you her impressions of our special day.

a princely day

I write now just to scribble down a few reflections on my bachelor party as I wind down before bed.

The day started off on a positive note. I stopped off at the bank to see if the ATM card that went AWOL last night could be located and it was — problem solved. Thank heavens for recoverable errors. I at least show the foresight to misplace my ATM card by letting the ATM swallow it.

The rest of the day was excellent. I met up with seven other guys (five groomsmen and two other old friends in town for the wedding). We piled into a limo with a wondrous 13 year old bottle of Signatory Caol Ila single malt and headed north for about two hours. We ended up at a winery where we had an excellent tasting, an even better lunch, followed a very interesting tour of the facilities, a barrel tasting, and some additional tasting to finish besides. From there, we headed about 10 minutes south, went to the tasting rooms of two other wineries. We then retraced our steps about two hours south where we had an excellent Italian-influenced dinner along with two magnums of ’98 and ’99 cabernet sauvignon that we bought at the winery that provided the tour. We rounded out the evening at the cigar club where many of the same group convened on Tuesday night.

I am in awe. This was a great day… and not at all a cheap day. I have great friends and relations who took the time and trouble to plan and pay for this whole affair. I must remember to be worthy of this.

If there is any regret attached to this day at all, it is a small twinge of the “road not traveled”. While I do basically loathe the prospect of the traditional night out with strippers and the like, there is a part of me that is surprisingly conventional… and wonders if I really missed out on something by asking for this rather adult, mature outing instead of an evening of debauchery that I could never tell Fiancee S. about.

I’m sure that twinge will pass.

slowly… losing… my… mind

The week leading up to my wedding has been an interesting one… and I mean that mostly in a good way. Friends and relatives have begun to converge upon the greater Metropolitan Area where Fiancee S. and I live in anticipation of our nuptials. They have largely been very helpful — several people have called and said “if you need help setting things up, making programs, etc… just let us know.” We have taken them up on this — a cousin of mine and his wife put together the wedding favors, and the father and step-mother of the bride have been working on programs during the last few days. I even got to spend some quality time with friends and family last night. A bunch of “the boys” in the wedding went out to dinner and then to a nearby cigar club — where we proceeded to burn deep, rich, hunks of rolled tobacco into smoke that required me to shower when I got home and wash my windbreaker twice this morning to dispell the odor.

No, any problems that I have with this week are self inflicted. I think my own brain is slowly melting and leaking out the back of my head. I think the problem is getting worse. Consider the following events:

  1. I nearly left a pen in the wash with my windbreaker (and other clothes) this morning… only to fortunately notice this about 2 minutes into the wash cycle, thereby avoiding disaster.
  2. I completely forgot to go pick up the blazer that I bought at Men’s Wearhouse about 10 days ago. I need this, because we are told that some of the restaurants we will likely visit during our honeymoon require a jacket and tie.
  3. I lost my ATM card tonight when Fiancee S. and I went out to have a little fun (a round of miniature golf and skee ball). The last we knew of it was a visit to the drive thru ATM at our bank branch down the hill. The hope is that I was merely STUPID! and drove away from the ATM without taking my card or the receipt. I am told that the machine recognizes this situation and it sucks the card into a strong box to be retrieved later. Hopefully, I can get the card tomorrow morning at the bank… otherwise, getting cash during our honeymoon will be slightly more complicated.

Yet, I am hopeful that some sort of “three strikes” rule applies. I have now done three stupid things in one day… hopefully I don’t need to do any more stupid things tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my bachelor party… I have few details and little beyond conjectures at this point, but it appears to be some sort of all day affair commencing at around 9am… but of course, my visit to the bank tomorrow may delay that. Then again, when I informed one of my groomsmen of the situation, he said “don’t worry… we won’t leave without you.”

True enough.

growing pains

Wedding Watch Count Down: 9 days (we’re in single digits!)

Fiancee S. was channel surfing the other night when who did we spot on the local Pentacostal and Evangelical cable TV station, but former Growing Pains sitcom star Kirk Cameron. Since this was a station often oft populated with the likes of Benny Hinn, various fire and brimstone preachers in ill-fitting suits and bad comb overs, and sociological symposiums about the causes of the Columbine Massacre, we were immediately intrigued. We decided to hang on for a minute and see what old Kirk was going to talk about. I now wish we hadn’t.

The basic thesis of the program presented by Kirk and his co-host was to reach out to the “born again” young people across the United States and tell them how to spread the message of Jesus to the rest of us… you know, the people who are going to Hell because we’ve been corrupted by godless secular humanism and liberalism. The venue for this presentation was interesting… part set from Green Acres, part post-Modern attic, part abandoned SoHo loft used for lesbian theater and bad renditions of Bertold Brecht, the set was that of a rustic attic, strewn with various junk and fixtures, framing a large multipane lattice window… that had blue screen-ed flames burning behind it. Alas, it was the flames that basically signified the tone for Kirk’s talk.

It was an interesting talk. It was. I don’t think too many people have heard too much talk like that in a wide area broadcast since Jim Jones took the The People’s Temple down to Guyana and drank himself some Kool-Aid. Well, ok, maybe it wasn’t that bad… but it was close.

Kirk first spoke about the need for young people to preach the Gospel to others in this day and age. His metaphor was that of the burning house. “If I saw your house was burning down,” he said “I would not walk up to the front door and politely knock to let you know that your house was on fire.” “No,” he continued “I would run through your neighborhood and yell ‘your house is on fire! your house is on fire!'”

He next tackled the subject of literal interpretation of the Bible. After supposing that someone might NOT actually believe that Adam might not have existed in 4004 B.C.E. (according to Archbishop Ussher, Archbishop of Armaugh, Primate of All Ireland, [1581-1656]), he rendered an answer whose wisdom I cannot contradict: “Everyone has a father, right? Your Dad had a Dad, and he had a Dad and so on. Well according to the Bible, Jesus was a descendent of Adam and Jesus most definitely existed.” How could I not believe that Adam existed?

Finally, he tried to tell the good young people of America how to deal with people who react skeptically to this message of Truth. “Bypass the intellect” he said, “go around the place of argument and speak directly to people’s hearts.” Evidently our hearts will listen to this message even our brains will not.

All I could speak to at that point was how my heart, my head, and my bowels were reacting to the thought that I would have to spend another minute listening to Kirk Cameron talking about spreading the Word. I started BEGGING Fiancee S. to change the channel… and if that didn’t work, I was going to resort to some very un-Christian VIOLENCE, thank-you-very-much. Fortunately for all involved, Fiancee S. was quickly persuaded… and domestic bliss was restored… leaving only sad memories of a sitcom star and flames outside the Green Acres Crack House attic window.

Let me close by saying that I have nothing against those who choose to be Born Again, provided they do something interesting with it. Be like Jimmy Carter: he was born again after losing an election run for Governor of Georgia in the late 1960’s and decided to go New York City to give away Bibles door-to-door for a year or two. Don’t just try to “bypass the intellect and avoid the place of argument”. Pulleaseee. But then again, that’s why Jimmy Carter got the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian and social efforts during and after his time as President. Kirk Cameron? He’s just a washed up sitcom actor with a closet full of Cosby Show-type sweaters from the 80’s and an occasional invite to do a Growing Pains reunion… that I never watch.

I wonder if they’ll send all non-essential government personnel home the day that Jimmy Carter is buried. *sigh* Probably not if a “born again” Republican is in the White House. He’ll be too busy trying to get G. W. Bush’s face put on the $100 bill… since he is a national pillar of strength and all.

some relationships, I will never understand

The past few days at the soon-to-be Dr.-and-Mrs.-Geek household were busy ones. Friday involved a Company O. “off-site” at a climbing gym, of all things. One of the senior managers of my group at Company O. likes to periodically get all us cubicle dwellers out in the sunshine to interact using something other than e-mail. I managed to scramble about 25 up a wall nearly half a dozen times on Friday, but, my arms felt ready to fall off at the elbows afterward.

We had our final meeting with the pastor of the Catholic Church where we will be married on Saturday. That went well, and all of the necessary paperwork the Church requires has been completed. That was followed by a visit with Fiancee S.’s Dad, in order to pick the latest round of wedding gifts that are acculating at his place. The remainder of the day for me involved cleaning the apartment to keep the mess at bay and writing “thank you” notes for the wedding gifts we have opened. We have a FIRM household rule that we cannot use a wedding gift until a “thank you” note has been written for it.

Sunday involved yet another round of struggles with boxes… affirming yet again that boxes are BAD. We moved various boxes out of Fiancee S.’s classroom. The contents of some of them will end up in the computer lab of the school where Fiancee S. will be working come August. Others will remain in storage more or less until we have children. The lifting didn’t help my elbows any, I must say.

Fiancee S. and I encountered the most “charming” couple we’ve met in quite some time while we moved classroom booty from the car to our rented storage unit. As we were pulling up to unload stuff out of the back of a borrowed minivan, a car pulled up containing three people: an older man in his mid-to-late 50’s, a slightly younger woman, and a child that could not have been older than 5 years. The man commandeered the last car the facility made available to transport junk, leaving Fiancee S. and I to load up the hand truck I purchased earlier in the day. After loading up said hand truck, Fiancee S. tried to take it into the building, but was forced to wait while the man loaded the cart. The woman with him tried to move the cart to let Fiancee S. pass, but, the man started to yell at her that she was stupid, it wasn’t a loading zone, and well, that she was even more stupid, for good measure.

Eventually Fiancee S. and I both got into the building, I unloaded the hand truck and began stacking stuff in the storage locker. Fiancee S. left to re-load the hand truck. When I finished, I went outside to join her. As I was leaving, the older man saw me as he was stacking his own odds and ends, and said “Sorry about that outside. She’s a real bitch and I’m getting back at her.”

It is incidents like this that remind me why divorce statistics are so high.

a few second thoughts

I watched the funeral procession for President Reagan’s casket on C-SPAN last night. It was all pomp and pageantry to be sure. Well, that and a horse with boots backwards in the stirrups that would not stay still at all.

Fiancee S. and I were wondering earlier in the week when the last State funeral for an ex-President was. Richard Nixon evidently opted for a private funeral rather than a State funeral. The only other ex-Presidents to die in my lifetime were Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson in the early 1970’s. I guess that would make LBJ the last State funeral before Reagan.

After watching the funeral, I decided that I might disagree with Reagans politics and policies, but I cannot begrudge him the pageantry of a State funeral. True, I think that political hay is being made of this… but I’m not necessarily sure that it will have lasting effects going into the Fall elections. I regret suggesting that he doesn’t deserve the honor. Any person who can manage to be elected President and serve honorably deserves the honor.

random thoughts

Focus seems to be hard to come by this week. My thoughts seem to erratically wander from here to there. Perhaps it is due to uneven amounts of sleep. Perhaps it is due to “end of school year” stress that Fiancee S. is rubbing off on me. It could simply be pre-marriage jitters. I don’t know.

In any case, I had a few random thoughts on the way to work this morning that I thought I would share.

I see that J. Lo finally married Marc Anthony this weekend… maybe. I have to doff my hat to Ms. Lo if it is true. She’s learned from the “Bennifer” debacle that if you want to have a celebrity wedding, you need to keep it quiet. On the other hand, I have to wonder what kind of call Marc Anthony made to his parents to announce the nuptials:

M.A.: Hi Mom
Mom: Mi Hijo! How are you?
M.A.: I have some great news!
Mom: Oh really? Am I going to be a grandmother again?
M.A.: No, it’s better than that.
Mom: Better than _that_?
M.A.: Sure. I’m divorcing Dayanara and marrying Jennifer Lopez!
Mom: <silence>
M.A.: What’s the matter, Mom? Aren’t you happy for me?
Mom: <silence>
M.A.: Mom… you’re scaring me.
Mom: Well… I’m happy for you, mi hijo… but she’s not welcome in this house unless you signed a pre-nup and you two have been married for at least five years.

In other news, I’m having mixed emotions about the funeral of Ronald Reagan. I know he was a popular President and all… but still… does he need to lay in State on the dias they used for Abraham Lincoln? Though many Republicans seem to think of him as the greatest thing since sliced bread… his record to me is decidedly more mixed. Vowing to end uncontrolled spending, all he brought us was uncontrolled deficits. Though as an active member of the Hollywood community he would not condemn homosexuals, he delayed funding for AIDS research for YEARS because it was supposedly a gay disease. His policies widened the economic gap between the rich and the poor… and he seemed to view the poor and homeless as undeserving of government help. His lack of interest in the details of government allowed him to be ignorant of the Iran-Contra affair, and the conduct of his administration produced more felony convictions than any other… ever. I have to cynically wonder if he would lay in State in Washington D.C. if the government was controlled by Democrats rather than Republicans.

On a strictly personal level, we’ve been getting a lot of knives as wedding gifts this week. It’s good stuff — mostly from the Henckel’s Four Star line that I put on our wedding registry. We have three of the 5″ serrated utility knives though… and I don’t like to use serrated when I cook. Perhaps we’ll use them as steak knives.

Finally, I see that the new Velvet Revolver CD is finally out. Scott Weiland of STP. Slash, Duff McKagen, and Matt Sorum from Guns’N’Roses. Sounds like a recipe for either good rockin’ or pretensious failure, right? I see they named the disc Contraband. I was kind of hoping they’d name it Chinese Democracy instead. It might get Axl Rose off his derriere and finish the damn thing… oh… any DECADE now.