Roo and Nate's Wedding Blog

Holy crap, we're getting hitched. How did this even happen?

Archive for the category “Humor”

Roo, Nate, and the Christmas Season

This is, by far, the busiest time of the year for Nate and me.  We both participate (at varying levels) in the Dickens Christmas Fair in San Francisco every year.  We spend every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas dressing up and pretending to be people that we’re not (and every weekend between Halloween and Thanksgiving preparing to spend every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas pretending to be people we’re not).  We also regularly work ridiculous hours (him more than me), have holiday events for our workplaces, and in general, see each other just long enough to cuddle briefly before falling into bed.  The following morning, we cuddle even more briefly, bemoan that we never see one another, and then go to work.  For a season that is theoretically about family, we never see ours.

Despite this, we love Christmas, even if we’re both trying vainly to shove in Christmas cheer into the spaces that are otherwise nearly lost. We have a tub full of Christmas decorations, vast collections of Christmas music, sing Christmas carols to one another, and shop online for Christmas gifts for our friends and loved ones because who has time to go to brick and mortar stores to shop? Not us, certainly.

(This is not to say that we’re Christian. Neil Gaiman wrote once about being Jewish and yet lobbying for a Christmas tree as a child as he had never lobbied for anything before or since.  That sort of resonates with us because, while not being Jewish, we had the sorts of upbringings that mostly precluded the Christ-bits of Christmas.  Why should pagan traditions be barred to us because we’re vaguely spiritual (on his side) atheists with nihilistic (on my side) and secular humanist tendencies (both of us).)*

Sunday nights are especially hard because once we have stopped pretending to be other people at Dickens, we still need to strip out of our things say our goodbyes to our friends, drive almost an hour home, and soak our feet after being on them almost continuously on the hardest surface on the planet for eight to ten hours at a stretch.  Mondays aren’t much better as we both work, and thus it happened that on Monday, December 12, Nate came home at the reasonable hour of almost 8pm, and we had the following conversation:

Nate (no sooner than he’s through the door): “I’ve brought home Indian food and we should go get our Christmas tree!”

You may not know this about me, but I dislike Indian food. I sort of tolerate it on a good day, and after a weekend of hard work, my feet killing me, and a day spent fantasizing about my bed, the last thing I want is to suffer through my dinner.  But we are running on little time before I will turn into a pumpkin, and I’m starving.  So, being the grown adult that I am, I pouted.

Me: “I don’t wanna. Can we get the Christmas tree later this week?”

This isn’t quite the longest week on record for Nate, but he wisely pointed out that this is probably the only time we’re going to have to get the tree. (This turned out to be true. The very next night he worked 18 hours, came home and slept for four, then worked between 12 and 16 hours each following day until Friday.)  I dragged myself off the sofa with the stipulation that I’ll only do this if we can get ice cream,  and we went out and looked for a tree.

Last year, we got a tree from our local Lucky grocery store, which seemed to be a reasonably decent tree, although a bit old by the time we got it. It dropped needles like nothing I’d ever seen before, but it seemed to do the trick well enough, by which I mean it sat in a corner, gamely let itself be laden with lights and ornaments and bows, and allowed us to put gifts underneath it. I mean, really, how much more do you need a tree to do?

We decided to give the Lucky a try again. We marched up to the fenced-in area and started looking at trees. Most were too tall for our short ceiling, so we bypassed those entirely and looked at a couple others that looked a little bit like they’d been dragged backwards through a doggie door.

Me: “This is sort of pathetic.”

Nate agreed and we trudged to the back corner where we found a tree standing practically by itself.  It looked reasonably decent until we went around to the back and saw the enormous gaping hole in its branches.

Nate: “Maybe we should try to find another tree…”

Me: “If we don’t take this tree home, it will stay here until Christmas eve. No one will love this tree. It’s our duty to give this tree a good home.”

Nate: “I guess we can put it against the wall…”

Me: “Yes! No one will ever see that side.”

Random lady who is also looking at trees: “What a good tree! That hole is where you put those enormous paper plate ornaments that your kids make in the second grade and which you keep forever.”

Me: “Er. Exactly. I’m pretty sure my mom has some of those ornaments still.”**

Nate, warming to the idea:  “Yes! We all have those large, difficult to display ornaments!”

Random lady: “My son, the trained killer, keeps asking me why I keep putting them on the tree.  I like to remember him when he was younger. Well, have a good holiday. I think I’ll come back tomorrow when I can really see the trees.”

Nate’s eyes met mine and we nodded to one another briskly.

Nate: “So. This tree?”

Me: “I’ll just go pay for it.”

Which is how we got a tree that did not go to a woman whose son is a trained killer and have just now, a week later, managed to decorate.

*I love parenthetical asides. And also footnotes.
**Mom, if you do still have those sorts of ornaments, I hope you’re not keeping them around for sentimental reasons.


The Engagement (POV #2)

Well, I’m not Roo. This is quickly apparently in real life, but the Internet is less revelatory, so I figured it best to be up front about this. No, I’m the Other Half, Nate by name.

Roo makes more time to write than I do, and it certainly shows in both output and quality. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t contribute now and again to this chronicle of our coming together, and so here we are today. It’s oddly appropriate that I should finally get an actual post up on this blog, and the topic is how things all began. So, here I am to provide a second point of view on the ‘official’ start of this whole marriage thing. There isn’t likely to be a third, unless some random seagull gets a WordPress account.

The first thing Roo isn’t telling you is how long I carried that ring around with me. I knew I was proposing to her a LONG time before the thing actually happened. I did some searching, both online and in person, for a ring that spoke to me and of her. Dissatisfied after months, I threw up my hands, declared ‘fuckit’, and sought out a jeweler to MAKE me what I had in my head.

Long story short, I did (and I highly recommend Shepherd Manufacturing Jewelers to anyone with similar inclinations). That was in mid November.

I trust you to do the math, but for those who would rather go shopping, that means I carried that ring around for almost three and a half months, looking for a proper way to propose. November and December are freakishly busy months for Roo and I (as anyone who does Dickens Fair can relate to), and so those were basically out. I came very close to popping the question in early January when we went to Disneyland, but a niggling doubt told me it was cliche… and also we were engaged in discussions about the crass commercialization of Disney at the time, and it seemed an ill-fated link to forge.

So by mid-January I was fed up. I decided that providence would not be kind, and to bloody well make it happen however I needed to. So as Roo described, I began a campaign to get she and I on a beach together. It only took a month and a half, which is about half of our usual planning horizon. I consider that a win.

February 27th came around, and by some miracle it was bright and sunny and a freeish day for us. After sushi (and yes, I did uncharacteristically panic for an instant or two), we were driving, aimlessly debating what beach to go to. I was originally thinking Pacifica. But as we passed a sign noting the turnoff for Highway 92 West, Roo remarked that she’d never been to Half Moon Bay. I took this as an indicator from Somewhere, made the turnoff, and declared on the spot that we were having an Adventure, to which Roo bemusedly agreed. Little did our heroine know.

In discussions once we got to HMB, I cheerfully steered us toward the beach, which was instantly rewarding in all kinds of ways; bright sun, beautiful ocean, hilarious warning signs, mysterious structures, and yes, a stick stuck in the sand to mark the bathrooms. Check Roo’s post for the details. I’ll fill in where her mind disintegrated under an onslaught of bliss and has robbed her of precious memory.

I did indeed ask what the stick marked as a lead-in (I’ll note my heart was in my throat, so it probably came out silly-sounding) and received the aforementioned glib rejoinder. At that point, I did start talking further, and I DO remember what I said, because I agonized over it for one of those quantum-length moments in time. You know, the ones where everything distends and you have an instant eternity to mull over how you’re not actually good at talking despite what everyone says, and what an ass you’re about to make of yourself? Yeah, I thought you knew what I was talking about.

Point being, eventually I got around to talking. And I may paraphrase slightly, but in the end what I said was something like this:

“Who knows, maybe the world conspires to mark important moments in life. It’s funny, I remember once you said something about fate, and how you didn’t believe in it, but in the same discussion you mentioned the idea of soulmates; people who are just going to fit together from the beginning. Which is totally us. And… you know, maybe that is fate, or maybe we just got absurdly lucky, finding each other. But either way, I want to keep you. For the rest of our lives, if you’ll do me the honor.”

I took a knee right around ‘either way’. And I feel I need to detail that moment a little.

You see, Roo is an extremely intelligent woman, and I love it about her. Erudite and generally collected, she’s aware of her surroundings and always processing. And in that moment, her brain just exploded. I literally watched fuses blow.

She put both hands to her mouth and started saying ‘Oh my god,’ and that was about all she said for fifteen or twenty repetitions. Then she started mixing in ‘Yes,’ with the ‘Oh my god’s. I got the ring onto her finger between the happy tears and the gibbering, and she came to her senses and was actually able to manage something other than those four words after maybe three or four minutes.

I’ve seen my fiancee lose her composure in anger or frustration a few times. But that’s the only time I’ve ever seen her lose it from happiness.

The Engagement

It’s here, the long awaited story of Nate’s and my engagement.

Since early January, Nate had been trying to convince me to go out to the coast with him, but something always interfered. It was ugly outside, one or the other of us was sick, it was cold, I didn’t feel like walking, we had plans with friends… always something.

On February 27, the stars aligned, the weather was beautiful, and over sushi brunch (what? Raw fish for breakfast isn’t your bag?), as I was gazing out at the beautiful day through the window shades, and contemplating the incredibly fabulous bathroom the sushi joint had (with a fucking bidet), I said to Nate, “Hey, we should totally go find some ocean!”

A brief aside: Nate grew up in Fort Bragg, California and while I’m a native of Sacramento, some of my best childhood memories are of fishing with my mom and grandfather off the California north coast. I’ve loved the ocean since the first day I saw it and Nate’s love may surpass mine, but it’s hard to tell. We both think of the Pacific as being “our” ocean and some of our first dates together involved finding a patch of beach and walking beside the ocean, in it, around it, through it… really, all the good prepositions. We love the ocean beyond all hope or reason.

Back to the story: Something akin to panic passed across Nate’s face, but it quickly subsided and he agreed quickly. Ten minutes later, we were on our way to Half Moon Bay.

Despite living in the bay area for ten years, I’d never been to Half Moon Bay. Nate suggested some various beaches, but I left the decision of where we should go in his hands. The sun was shining, there was a brisk breeze, and all was right with the world.

Upon arriving at State Beach, I immediately noticed some strange, white, bulbous structures on the headlands to the north. I asked Nate as he was scrounging around in the back seat of his 93 Civic, “What do you suppose those are?”

If you squint really hard, you can see the strange bulbous buildings in the background above my head.

He looked at them and shrugged, found his leather coat (Won’t you be too warm in that?I asked) and we made our way down to the beach.

The beach had some fabulously hysterical warning signs, of which I told Nate he should take pictures. I couldn’t because I was using my phone to figure out what in god’s name those structures on the headlands were.

I think my favorite part is the guy caught in the endless death cycle.

Nate eventually dragged me down to the beach and I figured that the structures could wait. I shoved my phone back in my pocket while Nate and I tromped down the beach, barefoot and happy.  We really couldn’t have asked for a better day for a stroll by the sea, and we were happy to take advantage of it. Eventually, though, Nate started slowing. I figured that if he was going to slow down, this would be a great time to renew my search for the Mysterious Headland Structures (MHSs). Out came my phone.

Nate paused by a stick that some enterprising soul had stuck upright in the sand. He asked, “What do you suppose this stick marks?”

A stick! What could this mark?

I looked around.  “Uh… there are some bathrooms. Maybe it marks that.” I pointed to them, the only notable thing aside from my MHSs, before returning my attention back to my phone. Tap, tap, click, tap.

I thought it was very nice of them to mark the bathrooms with a helpful stick.

Nate started talking and I admit I wasn’t listening while I poked at my phone. Eventually, words started filtering through. “…and it’s important to mark these special moments in our lives…”

I turned and found Nate on one knee in the sand next to the stick, fishing in his pocket for a box.


Eventually, I realized that Nate probably wanted an answer or something, but when I opened my mouth, I couldn’t seem to make any sense and just repeated what was going through my head. “Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod…”

Theoretically, I said “yes” in there somewhere. I definitely wound up with a ring on my finger, which is a pretty good indication that I assented. Memories are a little hazy on that point, although Nate assures me that I actually said “yes” about a dozen times. I tend to believe him.

Every engagement story needs a shot like this one.

I still don’t know what those structures are.

Wedding Ridiculosity

Getting married is an exercise in absurdity.  The wedding industry is full of people who are convinced, utterly convinced, that you want this to be your special day and that no day before or after will ever be as special. With all of these professionals pushing this image and all of these brides buying into that image, it’s a recipe for drama, disaster, and pure comedy.

Witness one of the wedding coordinators we met with when looking for venues.  We were very clear that we were a non-traditional couple (as much as we can be when we appear to be a white, heteronormative couple) with some sort of crazy ideas. Every time we broached one of those ideas, the very nice lady would sort of twitch then immediately say, “Well, what most couples do is this,” and no amount of patient explaining that we thought that was very nice, but not for us would convince her otherwise. For obvious reasons, we chose not to go with her or her venue, but Nate and I got a really good laugh out of it, anyway.

This sort of utter sincerity on the part of the wedding industry is one of the reasons that when I’m trolling wedding websites looking for ideas on stuff, I am taken aback by the fact that they blithely tell me how important it is to have Save the Date cards (STDs). It is, after all, the duty of the bride to give her friends and family STDs as soon as possible.

And they manage to do this with an entirely straight face, no winking or nudging anywhere.

Wedding industry, I’m disappointed in you.

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