Roo and Nate's Wedding Blog

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

Archive for the tag “romance”

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.

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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.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygodohmygod…

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.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness…

A highly confusing thing to me about the modern Love Industry (and the historical interpretations of the same, if we’re being honest here) is the pervasive opinion that each person has One True Love and further that when you find your One True Love, they will be the piece of your soul that’s missing and only by being together will you be whole.

This is actually mildly horrifying and I don’t entirely understand why anyone would find this state desirable.  Isn’t it better to be a whole person on your own, independent, happy of your own volition, and wishing to share that state with someone else?  Is it fair to make your happiness someone else’s problem?  Are you unwilling to take responsibility for your own life? What happens if/when something happens to you or your partner?

Occasionally, though, I’ll find evidence that not everyone thinks this way.  Since this getting married business started, I’ve been collecting quotes and images that work with my interpretation of what marriage is and should be: a partnership between two whole people.  We don’t have to be entirely independent and we don’t have to always stand on our own, but the choice to do so or not should be just that: a choice.

One of the most notable and probably one of the quotes that has stuck with me for over a decade is from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:

On Marriage

Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

Perhaps it’s because I’ve always been very independent (my mother tells a story that when I was a baby, she would know that I was awake in the mornings not because I would cry, but because I would be entertaining myself with my busy-box –  one of those contraptions that you put in cribs with bells and rattling things that move and make noise – and she could hear the ringing and clicking from the other room as I played with it) and a bit of an introvert besides, but I am fond of my own company. I like being by myself, I enjoy reading when no one else is around, and when given a choice between a loud party or an evening in, by myself, there’s a solid 75% chance that I’ll choose the evening in.  I don’t require another person to be content in my life.

However, I love being with Nate and I love seeing him and doing stuff with him, and when he travels for business (which is quite a lot), I miss him, but mostly because I occasionally find myself wanting to turn to him to tell him something that I’ve thought of or show him something I’ve found, or see what he will do when I tell him something ridiculous.

Randall Munroe of XKCD, of course, managed to sum it up brilliantly.

Everything

Nate is not the whole of my life and I don’t want to be the whole of his.  I want us to have separate interests, to be separate people.  I don’t want to always know how his mind works because part of my interest in him is that we are different, separate, and utterly fascinating apart.  And I want to spend the rest of my life figuring him out.

Romanticism

Not a lot of people know this about me, but I’m secretly a hopeless romantic.

This romanticism is carefully hidden away and packaged under layers of pragmatism.  I like things and people to be direct and am often confused by people who don’t just say what they mean.  I am infuriated by media romances (TV, film, novels) in which the principles can’t seem to get their shit together enough to just say, “Hey, I like you. Do you like me?” and instead spend their time hopelessly mooning over someone who doesn’t know they exist.  What’s wrong with them that they can’t just march up to the object of their affection and say something?

There is this notion (driven by those media romances) that romance happens without verbal communication.  They will look up from their respective books in a coffee shop, their eyes will meet, they will realize that they are both reading the same edition of the Critique of Pure Reason, and then they’ll drop their half-caf-soy-lattes (hers with a shot of almond syrup) in the rush to fling themselves into one another’s arms.

This is ridiculous.

And yet, I still love romance novels and romantic comedies (the romantic tragedies usually involve someone doing something stupid for “love” when what they mean is “gross obsession”) when I can find the ones that aren’t utterly insipid.  The trappings of romance are ridiculous.  Love never is.*

Most of all, though, I love stories of romance between real people.

My family doesn’t have a lot of these stories (or if they do, no one ever tells me about them).  It’s one of the reasons I’m writing this blog: to tell the story of a romance, one which is silly (because Nate and I are nothing if not a bit silly), sweet, funny, and more than anything, full of love and laughter** both in copious quantities.

Every time I encounter one, it gives me hope for the future, for humanity, and such a spectacular fuzzy feeling inside. This one has been making the rounds of the internet, and I’ve bookmarked it and read it over and over again because it’s both funny and sweet, and it’s worth sharing.  Without further ado, I share The Second Date Story.

And if you have a romantic story (or several) to share, do so with abandon.  Love is always worth celebrating.

*Except sometimes when it is, and then it’s hysterical.
**
My favorite Irish toast is, “Here’s to me and here’s to you, and here’s to love and laughter; I’ll be true as long as you, and not a moment after.”

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