Sunday, November 4, 2001

Before the Blog: Enlightening the Airplane Lady

The name change process is coming along; we've both got our new driver licenses, and social security cards, we've opened a joint bank account in our new names, we've changed them on several other things and we're wracking our brains to think of what we've forgotten.

I had an interesting phone conversation with Continental Airlines this afternoon, trying to deal with the fact that we have plane tickets for a trip to Texas in January with our old names on them.

We were hoping we could change the names on the tickets, but the best they could do was make a note about it, so the ticket agent at the airport won't give us too much of a hassle. This poor woman that Italked to just wasn't getting it.

"I don't know what you mean by 'hyphenated.'"

At one point she said, "I'm still confused, but I'll document it anyway."

I tried explaining again, and the lady said,

"So both your names are this now? I don't understand - this is your traveling partner?"

"No, my partner partner - we're a couple."

"But this is a female, not a male?"


And later, "So, did you get married, or just change your names?"

"Well, we consider ourselves married, but not legally; we legally changed our names to reflect that."

Shrike was overhearing the whole thing from the other room, and came in to give me moral support; but what I needed most was a way to keep from laughing at this woman's inability to comprehend what I was telling her.

We can just envision her getting off the phone and telling her coworkers about the wierd call she just handled. Maybe they'll explain it to her!

So, we're not sure at all what kind of a note this woman added to our tickets, but hopefully our new IDs and our court orders will get us on the plane!

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Before the Blog: Meet Ms. & Ms. Shrike-Whozat

Two updates in a month - amazing!

Our big news is that last Friday we went to court to finalize the hyphenation of our last names. We thought that the legal stuff would be a pain in the butt, but it's starting to look like that was nothing compared to getting them changed on all our various documents.

So far, we've applied for our new Social Security cards, I have my new driver's license and Shrike has taken care of changing her health insurance. Lots more to do, though; every day we think of another company or institution that we have to deal with.

This past weekend was a busy one. We baby-sat Shrike's niece and nephew from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. This is the first time we've kept them overnight, and we were a bit worried, since despite having kept them several evenings, we'd never actually succeeded at getting her nephew to sleep.

We did manage it this time, with some clever ventriloquism on my part, if I do say so myself. (It involved his toy shark being very tired, but very lonely, and needing to be snuggled - don't ask.) All in all, it went pretty well; we had a good time, and we think the kids did, too.

After we dropped the kids off at Shrike's parents' house we headed to TownNoOneOutsideOfBlueStateCanPronounce to see Melissa Etheridge in concert. Of course, that was incredible.

I smuggled a camera in (no thanks to Shrike, who upon seeing the "No Cameras" sign at the door proclaimed loudly "Honey, you can't take your camera in.")

They didn't hear her and I managed to get it in and take a couple of photos. The plan was to take some with flash and some without, not knowing which would work better. However, we decided it was best just to blow it off, after a woman seated in front of us was threatened with arrest for refusing to give up her camera. If those two photos turn out to be any good we'll post them here.

That's about all the excitement around here - and it's about all we can handle.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Before the Blog: (Debt) Free at Last!

Wow - it has been WAY too long since the last update here, hasn't it? Sorry about that! So, what has been happening in our lives in the last eight months or so...

Picking up where we left off - in March, my immediate supervisor at work left the company, leaving me as the lead web developer. It was a pretty scary prospect, but the "field promotion" came with a raise, a week's worth of bonus vacation days, and a whole lot of overtime the first month or so.

After a few weeks, I was a starting to feel whole lot more comfortable about the idea. I have learned a whole lot (out of necessity!) and am infinitely more confident in my skills now, both in design and programming. I'm even picking up some server/networking knowledge along the way, too.

Thanks to my raise and overtime pay, Shrike's raise from last November and tax refunds (the real ones from 2000, not those stupid $300 checks - those went to an LGBT Rights organization), we had a fair amount of "found" money on hand, and by summer we were able to pay off my credit card debt, Shrike's car and Shrike's credit card - and we are now officially debt free!

We still put a few things on the credit card, but only what we can pay off when the bill comes - our new motto is "If I can't live in it or drive it, I'm paying cash!" We're now saving the money that was going toward debt and we're hoping to have enough saved up by the end of 2002 for a down payment on a house.

One of the high points of our summer was seeing Melissa Etheridge in Washington, DC, at the first show of her Live...and Alone tour. The show was incredible; it was in a very small theater, and we were on about the tenth row. I guess we didn't quite get enough, though, because we have tickets to see her again in BlueState next Sunday!

I'm sure many other exciting things have happened to us in the last several months, but none of them seem to come to mind at the moment.

Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Wedding Journal: Why Get Married?

It's a question that many gay couples hear when they announce their engagement: "Why get married, if it's not legal?"

Our answer is simple: "For the same reasons that straight couples get married."

We know a lot of straight couples, and we doubt than any of them, if asked, would say that they got married so that they could file a joint income tax return, or visit each other in the hospital, or put the other on their health insurance. Sure, straight couples automatically get all these benefits when they marry, but is that why they do it?

Of course not, they get married because they love each other, because they want to spend the rest of their lives together, because they want to stand up in front of their families and friends and declare to the world that they are now one, and because they want those family members and friends to stand beside them and support their union.

That's why we got married, too - even if it's not legal.

Would we like all the benefits that come with legal marriage? Of course, that's why we want same-sex marriage legalized, and why, when it is, we'll be at the front of the line, but we're not going to wait until then to declare our love to the world.

Saturday, February 24, 2001

Wedding Journal: What a long, strange couple of weeks it's been . . .

On the evening of Thursday, February 1, I received news that my brother-in-law had unexpectedly died of a heart attack. He was 41 years old, and left behind a wife, a 16 year-old son and a 13 year-old daughter.

While, obviously, our primary concern was for my sister, niece and nephew, as well as my brother-in-law's mother, brother, and other family members, this also required us to make some major changes in our plans.

I asked my mom if we should even go ahead with the wedding as planned, and her opinion was that we were well past the "point of no return," that too many of our guests had already made their travel arrangements, and that we really had no choice.

We both immediately contacted our bosses to arrange for more time off from work. They were both great about it, especially considering that Shrike had to start by coming out to her boss, in order to explain exactly whose funeral she was attending, and had to tell her about the wedding, to explain why she would still need the vacation time she had originally planned.

The next day, a couple of her coworkers mentioned that they had heard there had been a death in her family, so she explained the situation to them. They were all great about it, and one in particular seemed really interested in the wedding.

I took off work Friday, so I could finish up with some of the wedding preparations that we thought we'd have another week to work on. I burned the CDs of wedding music (more or less), burned all of our various wedding documents that still needed to be printed (programs, instructions, etc.) onto a CD to be printed at her parent's house, and started packing.

We were able to change the date of our outgoing flight without too much trouble, but had to leave everything else the same, so on Saturday, we drove about two hours to BigCityTwoHoursAway, flew three hours to New Orleans, rented a car and drove about five hours to my parents' house in Texas.

On Sunday, various family members arrived in town, we had lunch at my mom's house, provided by the members of my sister's church, and the visitation was that evening.

We all thought that my sister had gone a little overboard in scheduling four hours of visitation (4-8 p.m.), but she knew that, since it was a Sunday, many people would be stopping by either before or after church. As it turned out, their pastor canceled evening services, so that people could attend, but there were many people there from other churches, and, although people were coming and going the whole time, the chapel stayed about half-full for the entire four hours, so if it had been any shorter, there probably would have been too many people there at once for her to speak to.

Despite the circumstances, there were actually a few funny moments that evening.

Perhaps the oddest was the woman who "crashed" the visitation. Her first words to my sister were "I never knew your husband. . . ." which was a bad sign to start with.

She had attended the annual Christian music festival that my sister and brother-in-law had organized (there have been three, the fourth is scheduled for next month) and when she saw the obituary (which mentioned his role as a founder of the festival) she wanted to stop by and pay her respects.

This would have been fine, but she wouldn't leave! She kept talking to my sister, "And what is your name?"

(You'd think she could've gotten that from the obituary, too.)

My sister and her sister-in-law (the wife of my brother-in-law's older brother who died a few years ago - she was "running interference" for my sister, moving people along, getting her out when she needed a break, etc.) thanked this woman for coming, and said "good-bye" types of things several times, and she still wouldn't leave!

The second amusing moment happened later, when Shrike and I had returned to the house to reheat and put back out the food from earlier. My mom's cousin, a 70-something Baptist preacher, and his wife had come into town and had already gone back to the house, so we had to sit and make small-talk with them while we waited from everyone else to return from the funeral home.

As you may guess, we are not out to these people. No telling what they might have thought about Shrike flying across the country with me for the funeral, but we did mention that we'd already planned a visit with my family and a trip to New Orleans, so maybe that threw them off.

Anyway, just as I was opening the oven to get some food out, he asked, "So, how did you two meet?" I immediately called Shrike over to help me with the food, and as we were putting it on the table in the other room, told her "Ok, they're old, maybe they'll forget they asked."

No such luck, of course. Later in the evening, he asked again. I mumbled something along the lines of "Well, she was moving, living here, and then before, and that was when I, the thing up there, and . . . ."

In the earlier conversation, they had had to ask us to repeat several things, so we're hoping that they just assumed the problem with my answer was their hearing!

Oh, and we were also rather amused when the cousin's wife told us they had videotaped the "coronation - I mean inauguration" to send to their son, who is a missionary in China. It's pretty sad when his biggest fans refer to it that way!

Monday was about the longest day of our lives. The funeral was at 10 am, in my hometown, then we drove about four hours to my brother-in-law's hometown for a graveside service. (He was buried next to his brother, father, and several other family members.)

Afterwards, we went to his mom's house for yet more food, provided by her church, and then drove four hours back to my parents' house.

My sister, niece and nephew are doing pretty well, all things considered, but we worry about what will happen when it all finally sinks in.

The next few days are something of a blur - as my mom said, it was quite a schizophrenic week, going back and forth between taking care of my sister and the kids and preparing for the wedding, but somehow, we made it through.

Over the course of the week, we finished buying gifts for the wedding participants, met with the minister, printed the programs, tracked down a video camera, ordered the party trays, and finished the music.

Friday afternoon, we went to the church with my mom to set up and decorate. Shrike's mom, sister, niece and nephew arrived in town later in the afternoon, and that evening was the rehearsal dinner, hosted by my brother.

I was incredibly nervous about our families meeting, but it seemed to go pretty well. Shrike's nephew ended up sitting next to my dad at dinner. He didn't seem too sure about that at first, and just looked at me like I was nuts when I told him "That's my daddy."

When my dad got out his digital camera, though, he decided he was his best friend, and we're not sure, but we think we heard him refer to him as "Dad" at one point!

My sister had, quite understandably, decided that she couldn't handle attending the dinner or the ceremony, but she wanted to meet Shrikes' family, so they all came over to my parents' house Saturday morning.

My niece, who's 13, held Shrike's niece (8 months) almost the whole time they were there, and, as usual, Shrike's nephew charmed everyone. He had a ball looking at the pictures from the night before, and when each one that he wasn't in came up he said, "Dat's not HisName!" What a little ham!

After we got the families cleared out, we packed our bag for the church and for overnight, and headed to the mall to pick up the party trays and chips and dips from my favorite Mexican restaurant. We met my mom at the church and finished setting everything up just in time.

As we were going out to the car to get our wedding clothes, our photographer friend showed up to start taking pictures. We got dressed

and did our pictures, and by the time we were finished with that, my dad and brother were there to do family pictures.

Just as we finished those, Shrike's family arrived so we could do pictures with them, and the last of the readers and the minister got there just as we were getting done with that. We couldn't believe what a good job we'd done in telling everybody when to show up!

We rehearsed the ceremony, and by the end of that, I was thoroughly convinced that I was the only one there, with the possible exception of Shrike, who had any clue what was supposed to happen!

Somehow, we made it through the hour or so of waiting,

and before we knew it, it was time to walk down the aisle. I was an absolute wreck!

Somehow we both made it down the aisle, and I managed to not pass out during the ceremony. At the altar, Shrike kept asking mr if I was okay, and I kept assuring her that I was, but I probably didn't look very okay at all.

The ceremony went beautifully, everyone figured out where they were supposed to be when, and, despite what seemed like an hour of standing there being stared at while one song played, before we knew it, it was over.

The reception is pretty much a blur of hugs, and by the end we'd decided that we weren't up to going dancing, but we could sure use a drink, so we went out to Bennigan's with my brother and three of my friends from summer camp. We got to the hotel around midnight and . . . went to sleep!

The next morning we went back over to my parents' house to open gifts, pack up the rest of our stuff, sort through everything they'd brought back from the church, figure out what we could pack and what they needed to ship to us, and say good-bye.

We realized that our CDs and tapes and "The Big Red Notebook" with all our planning - and honeymoon - information in it had been left behind, so we got everything wrapped up there, hugged everyone good-bye, and left in time to stop at the church and pick them up and then headed to New Orleans.

New Orleans was, as usual, wonderful. After dropping off the rental car we caught a cab to the gay-owned bed and breakfast where we were staying. We called our families to check in, had a glass of champagne and headed to Pat O'Brien's for hurricanes.

We then wandered around the French Quarter for hours, ending up at a tiny little bar where an old man was playing piano and singing. There were just a few people there and we were sitting right up front, so he noticed us cuddling and said, "This is for you ladies," and sang a love song.

Later he sang several more love songs for us; he was just the sweetest guy. After that, we hit Cafe du Monde for cafe au lait and beignets and then went back to the hotel, soaked in our jacuzzi and . . . went to sleep!

Monday we woke up just in time for breakfast, returned to our room to finally consumate our marriage, and then went back down to the French Quarter in the afternoon. After much whining from me about my feet hurting, we hung out at one bar for a couple of hours, where we attracted the attention of a group of merchant marines, one of whom, when he found out we were on our honeymoon, told us that we were "the coolest."

Later, when we were dancing to "We Are Family" some guy came up and started dancing "with us" and touched Shrike's butt! He asked me "Is this your sister?" We both showed him our rings and I said "This is my wife."

That must have scared him off, because we didn't see him again after that! We then wandered down to the gay end of the quarter for a while, hit Cafe du Monde once again and called it a night.

We flew home on Tuesday, dropped off the film to be developed on our way into town, waded through a huge stack of mail, and thanked God that we'd decided to take Wednesday off work, too!

Today we went to the mailing store to send back the other suit that I had ordered (she ordered two different sizes, just to be safe), took the video to be converted to VHS (the camera we finally tracked down was 8 mm and we had no clue what to do with that) and went to dinner.

We should have the photos and the video back tomorrow, and hopefully I will get the rest of the photos posted on the site by the end of the weekend.

In the meantime, we are going back to work tomorrow, so it's bedtime!

Friday, February 16, 2001

Wedding Journal: About Our Wedding

The Ceremony
The ceremony was held at a Unitarian Church near my hometown on February 10, 2001.

Prelude Music
A collection of songs that have had special meaning to us during our relationship:
"Head Over Feet - Alanis Morrissette
"Carmen" - Paula Cole
"Keep It Precious" - Melissa Etheridge
"Power of Two" - Indigo Girls
"Natural Woman" - Aretha Franklin
"Ice Cream" - Sarah McLachlan
"My Love, Sweet Love" - Patti LaBelle
"From This Moment" - Shania Twain

We walked down the aisle to Johann Pachelbel's Canon in D. My brother led the processional, followed by Shrike's sister and her nephew. Shrike was escorted by her mother, and I was escorted by my parents.

At the Altar
Before they were seated, the officiant asked our parents to promise us their blessing, love and support. She then welcomed the guests and thanked them for coming, before introducing the readings.

Love does not consist of gazing at one another, but of looking outward together in the same direction. Do not seek perfection in each other. Do not seek to make the other into your own image, or to remake yourself into another's image. What each most truly is will be known by the other. It is that truth of you which must be loved. Many things will change, but change is not the enemy of love. Change is the enemy only of any attempt to possess. May all that is good and true and beautiful abide with you now and always.

Ruth 1:16-17
And Ruth said to Naomi, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

The Legend of Soulmates
Legend has it that once, long ago, all people had four legs, four arms and two heads. These people were of three sexes - man, born of the sun, woman, born of the earth, and man-woman, born of the moon. One day the gods, fearing the power of these people, threw down thunderbolts and split each of them in two, creating people - and the sexes - as we now know them. But this separation left both sides with a desperate yearning to be reunited, because, while their bodies had been separated, they still shared the same soul. Ever since then, all people spend their lives searching for the other half of their soul - their soulmate. It is said that when soulmates meet, they recognize each other immediately. Soulmates do not love each other because of outward qualities, but because each sings a song that only the other can understand. They are a part of each other; the part each has always vaguely missed. They watch out for each other, catch each other when they fall, listen to each other's stories, understand things that no one else would, and love each other. They are sacred to each other.

The officiant (who is African-American) drew an analogy between our commitment ceremony and African-American slaves "jumping the broom" when they were not allowed to marry legally.

Question of Intent
(Name), do you come before this gathering of friends and family to celebrate your love for (Name) and to commit your life to her? Do you pledge to love, comfort and protect her, affirm her, respect her, and care for her; to express your thoughts and emotions to her, and to listen to hers, in times of joy and of sorrow, in times of wealth and of need; to encourage and inspire her, while committing to grow, love and advance together in faith, honesty and determination?

I do.

Exchange of Vows
I, (Name), take you, (Name), as my partner in life. I will trust you and honor you. I will respect your goals and dreams, and help you to realize them. I will laugh with you and cry with you. I will love you, when we are together and when we are apart, when life is peaceful and when it is in disorder, when our love is simple, and when it is an effort, no matter what we may encounter together. I will make my home in your heart from this day forward. You are my partner, my lover, and my best friend. Will you let me share my life and all that I am with you?

I will

Signing of the Certificate of Commitment
After exchanging our vows, we and our families signed our Certificate of Commitment, which was created for us by a friend. While we were signing (and, it seemed, for an hour afterward!) "Sleep" by Melissa Etheridge was played.

Exchange of Rings

I give you this ring as a constant reminder, and as an outward sign to the world, of my love and my commitment to you.

Rose Ceremony
As we exchanged roses that we pulled from our bouquets, The officiant talked about the importance of commitment in a relationship, and the red rose as a symbol of love.

In the presence of your family and friends, by the power of your love, because you have exchanged vows of commitment, we recognize you as partners in life - you may kiss.

Now you are two people with one shared life before you. Go now into your dwelling place to enter into the days of your lives together. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and may your days together be good and long upon the earth.

The Reception
The reception was at the church, immediately following the ceremony. We served meat and cheese trays, chili con queso, salsa and tortilla chips from Casa Ole' (Whozat's favorite restaurant), sour cream and picante dip, cake, mints, nuts, punch, champagne and iced tea.

The cake was white with white icing. It was made of two double-layer hearts on top of each other with red roses around the edges of each layer. On top was a photo of us in a small heart-shaped frame.

We did the traditional cutting and feeding of the cake (no cake-smashing!) and champagne toast. Our toasting glasses were two "floating" hearts, shaped to fit together and form a circle. They were engraved with our names and the wedding date. They were beautiful, but very difficult to drink from without spilling!

We also did the traditional bouquet toss, but we tossed two bouquets and invited all of our single guests - male and female - to join in. We planned to toss them simultaneously, but Shrike's bouquet hit the ceiling on the first try, so she had to toss again.

After The Reception
After the reception, we had planned to continue celebrating at a local gay dance club with anyone who wanted to join us. By the end of the evening, however, we decided that we were much to tired to go dancing, so we went to Bennigan's with a few friends instead.

The Honeymoon
We spent our wedding night at a hotel in Whozat's hometown, and went back to Whozat's parents' house on Sunday to open gifts, pack our bags and say good-bye. We then drove to New Orleans and spent a couple of days at a gay-owned bed and breakfast, before flying back home on Tuesday.

Saturday, January 27, 2001

Wedding Journal: 14 days to go!

Good news - Whozat won't be walking down the aisle naked after all!

After another fruitless shopping trip last Saturday, the suits she ordered finally arrived on Tuesday, and she will be wearing one of them. The pants are 3 sizes too big, and the jacket comes to her knees, but she had them fitted for alterations yesterday, and they should be ready by next Tuesday. We went to the tuxedo store today and bought a shirt, studs and cuff links for her to wear with it.

Shrike tried on the suit she's wearing a couple of days ago, and it still looks as great on her as Whozat remembered!

We're having a bit of a floral crisis, but it should be worked out soon. The lady who made the flowers put them in the mail (US Mail) to Whozat's parents at the end of December, and they still haven't arrived. The lady agreed to make a second set and send them UPS this time, but we had a minor miscommunication, which delayed things a bit, and she just got them finished and should ship them on Monday.

We shipped off two big boxes of wedding supplies to Whozat's parents today, so we won't have to take them down ourselves. They went UPS, too, and Whozat will probably be tracking all these shipments on an hourly basis, until they arrive!

We also both got haircuts today; it was a little weird for both of us, getting it cut before our bangs are absolutely out of control, but we wanted to get past the just-cut funkiness before the wedding. We're not out to our hairdresser (well, not officially, but she can't be that stupid - we always come in together, Shrike always pays for both of us. . . .) so when she asked if we had any plans coming up, Shrike told her we're going to New Orleans in a couple of weeks (we are going there for our honeymoon).

Whozat mentioned that we were spending a few days with her family first, but that "Shrike is more interested in the New Orleans part." (True!) We did manage not to giggle when she commented that it's handy that we came in when we did, since our hair will be at that perfect stage for our vacation. . . .

Whozat's sister emailed her this week and said she's coming to the wedding - she's be praying about it for almost two years. Whozat wasn't thrilled with some of what she said, but at least she is going to be there.

We've been trying to get RSVPs back (the "deadline," according to the invitations, was a week ago). We've gotten definite answers from just over half the invitations we sent.

Right now, counting us, we have almost 30 definites, about three who've responded with "maybes," a couple we haven't heard from, but think will probably come and about 10 that we have no idea about. And that's after sending out an email to all but 2 or 3 of the non-responders, asking for an answer!

The cake will serve 72, Whozat's mom is probably ordering the other food for 50, and we'll probably end up with between 30 and 40, so we hope these folks are hungry!

Whozat's still obsessing, of course, making lists, talking of nothing else, and driving Shrike nuts, but her theory is that if she weren't obsessing, it wouldn't be getting done, so she has to.

In the next couple of weeks we have to buy gifts for our family members that are involved (we've already bought for everybody else), put together the album, locate recordings of a couple of songs and burn the CD of ceremony music, finalize who's doing what so we can print the programs, work out the rest of the details of clothes, hair, etc, figure out when we are rehearsing, figure out a schedule for the day, fill everybody in on it . . . .

Did I mention Whozat is obsessing?

Monday, January 15, 2001

Wedding Journal: 26 days to go!

We have been quite busy the last couple of days and Whozat is a total, as Shrike would put it, "Fret-Ball!'

We went shopping Saturday and came up empty handed on clothes, but we kicked ass at the Party Store. We got cups, plates, napkins, champagne glasses, forks and spoons (didn't see a need for knives), tablecloths, decorations (heart confetti and garland for the tables), thank you notes and a pen (It's kind of "cheesy" but it has hearts on it, so we liked it. It's a regular pen, not a "wedding" one, because we think the big feathers are stupid.)

We also went to Target and registered for a bunch more stuff and bought film. At the mall we found a little basket for cards and a silver-look heart-shaped bud vase - we're doing a thing in the ceremony where we exchange roses, we'll put them in the bud vase afterwards, probably on the table with the certificate.

We found the bud vase at J.C. Penney, but had some other things to look for, so we just took it with us to the other departments. We didn't find anything else we were looking for, so we gave up and left the mall. On the way to the car, Whozat was holding Shrike's arm, and asking her if that was ok, did it make her uncomfortable (walking through the mall parking lot in our little hick town), did she want her to stop, etc. There were some people standing by a truck as we passed by, and a car alarm was going off somewhere.

Suddenly, we heard a loud "clink" on the ground right behind us. Shrike thought Whozat had kicked a bottle or something, but Whozat's first thought was that someone had thrown a bottle at us.

We both turned around, and saw the bud vase lying on the ground. Shrike said, "Oh, your vase just fell out of the box."

Then we both yelled, "OH MY GOD!" as we realized that the reason the vase wasn't tucked safely inside a bag was that we hadn't paid for it!

We'd carried it all over the store, and then walked right out with it!

Needless to say we hurried back in and paid - and we did not mention any of this to the clerk who checked us out! Although, maybe we should have - we couldn't have been in trouble; it was obviously an accident, since we went back, but maybe they should know how easy it was for us to do.

On Sunday we went to Walmart (where we didn't steal anything) and finally found candy dishes for the tables. Whozat had envisioned heart-shaped glass dishes, but we ended up with red plastic. At this point, they are hearts, so they will do!

Our original plan was to put Valentine's Day M&Ms in the dishes and scatter Hershey's Kisses on the tables, but now we are leaning toward blowing off the M&Ms (thinking that might be chocolate overkill), putting the Kisses (and maybe some Huggs - in Valentine's Day wrappers, of course) in the dishes, and getting small boxes of conversation hearts to put at each place, along with the bubbles.

Whozat thinks it would be a shame to have all this Valentine's stuff and miss out on the conversation hearts - they don't taste very good, but they are fun. We've eyed the wedding conversation hearts that are for sale at several of the wedding websites we've visited, but they have a lot that say things like "Bride and Groom" or "Mr. and Mrs." and Whozat doesn't want to go to the trouble of digging all those out before serving them.

She would do it, too.

When we were "dating" (as we refer to the time period when our relationship was primarily online, before Shrike moved to Texas), she sent Shrike a big bag of them, but first she went through and removed all the ones like "My Guy" and all the ones that were at all negative, like "Slow Down" or "No Way."

She put the leftovers in the fridge, and a few days later her niece spent the night, and found them. She was reading them all before she ate them, and Whozat was so worried that she'd ask why they were all so negative!

But I digress. . . .

We also went to the Hallmark Store on Sunday and bought an album/guestbook. We went with a "do-it-yourself" one, so we wouldn't have to deal with all those "blanks" that we don't need. We got the album itself, which is basically a three-ring binder with an "Our Wedding" design on the front, some photo-pocket pages that came with it and a couple of packages of blank scrapbook paper. We'll wait on buying more photo-pockets until we have the pictures developed and know what we need.

Whozat is working on making up the pages for it on the computer, we'll go ahead and print out most of the information, since it will be a lot more legible than either of us writing it in! We'll even print out a couple of pages with little blanks for guests to "sign in" at the wedding and at the party that some friends are throwing for us after we get back.

Sunday evening we finished putting labels (with our names and the date) and ribbons on the bubbles and packed up most of the things we'd bought to ship to Whozat's parents in Texas, so we don't have to take it all down when we go. We'll send that off as soon as we find a bigger box, or a second box, since we filled the one we have and then found a couple of bags of cups that we'd missed.

The biggest crisis at the moment, at least for Whozat, is what the hell to wear. We thought we both had pantsuits that we could wear "if we don't find something."

But after not finding anything Saturday, Whozat figured she'd better try hers on (since it's the same size as the ones she was trying on - and not buying - at the stores). Alas, it seems that the jacket that was just fine in September, when she wore it last, is a bit on the snug side now. It might be looser in a month, but given the wedding stress that's going on, we're doubting that!

She found one online that she likes the look of and has ordered it in two different sizes. We're hoping they will arrive some time this week (They'd better, for the almost $30 we paid for "Premium" shipping!)

If one of those works out, we'll just send the other one back. She'll need to have the pants taken up a couple of sizes because they won't let you mix and match, you have to get the whole set in all one size, even if you aren't, so we have to find somebody to do that.If that doesn't work, then we'll probably be doing some more shopping next weekend.

Shrike seems to have decided to wear the suit that she already has, but maybe she's just keeping quiet about her own clothing crisis until Whozat has resolved hers?

There are still tons of things to be taken care of, but we made a whole lot of progress this weekend and checked several things off our lists of "Things To Do" and "Things To Buy," so we're feeling like it's a little more under control.

Of course, Whozat is still totally stressing....

Thursday, January 11, 2001

Wedding Journal: Less than a month to go!

We are starting to get pretty close here, and Whozat is starting to panic about how we're ever going to get everything done in time. Shrike keeps reassuring her that, even if something doesn't get done, we'll be there, our guests will be there, and it will be wonderful. It's not helping much!

Whozat's mom ordered the cake yesterday, and is supposed to be checking on prices for the meat/cheese trays today. Her parents have paid for the cake (and the church) which is a huge help - as is all the running around and phone calling her mom is doing!

The last time Whozat talked to her mom, they discussed the rehearsal dinner, including the big question: "Who's paying for it?" We really wanted to have it at this great seafood restaurant in Whozat's hometown, but it's a little pricey, and we'll have somewhere between 11 - 17 people.

Whozat told her mom that since they were paying for the cake, we might be able to handle the dinner; her mom suggested that maybe they split the cost with us. We also discussed the possibility of just going somewhere less expensive.

Well . . . Whozat got an email from her mom yesterday, telling her all about the cake, and also saying that her brother (and "Man of Honor") has decided that he wants to pay for the rehearsal dinner, as his wedding gift! What a guy!

We've also written our vows - our friend who is making the Certificate of Commitment was asking for them, that got us moving! The minister sent us some ideas, and Whozat copied a bunch more from various websites (both gay and straight) then we just picked the parts we liked, cut, pasted, and patched together until we had something that we agreed on.

We've heard from the lady who made the flowers; she has shipped them, but they haven't arrive yet - things seem to be a little backed up from the holidays. So, we are still holding our breath on that one!

Shrike is off this weekend (she usually works on Saturdays) so we're going on a shopping spree. We plan to look for clothes for the wedding, buy cups/plate/etc. and decorations for the tables, and go back to Target to register for some more gifts. Shrike has a gift certificate for a nice restaurant in the town we're shopping in, so we plan to reward ourselves afterwards with a fancy dinner!

We still have a ton of stuff to do, and Whozat is making lists like crazy, but we're making progress - we might actually get it all done in time!