Wednesday, May 24, 2006

DONKEY!

I really thought that we would NEVER get everything pulled together for our ceremony this Saturday... but lo and behold, our ducks just may be in a row!
********

Did I ever tell you about the fuss Amy put up about registering somewhere for the wedding? It goes kind of like this...

Amy has lived in her house for approximately three and a half years. I moved in with her almost two years ago. As such, we have most of the things that folks just getting married might need for their new home. So, Amy thought it foolish and a bit presumptuous to register somewhere.

We discussed this and agreed that we most certainly did not want folks to feel compelled to bring a gift to our ceremony. To get that point across, we included a line at the bottom of our invitation stating that we consider the attendees' presence their gift to us and no other gifts are necessary.

So, when I bought up the need to register somewhere, Amy balked. No, no, no. She wasn't having it. We said we didn't want gifts. So on and so forth.

This became a point of contention for MONTHS. Even when Debbie, Amy's close friend from college, told her we needed to register. Even when the first thing that the women from my Bible study class asked was where we were registered. Amy was STILL fussing.

This is where my logic and Amy's delicate sensibilities had a major collision. I wanted to register because I KNOW some people want to bring gifts. I also know that some folks have never been to our home. They don't know our tastes. They have no idea what we need or would want as an addition to our home. So, it is only fair to provide some guidance via a registry.

Otherwise, we could end up with 20 toasters. Or, even worse, multiple donkey cigarette dispensers. This was just a risk we could not take. So, while I was at work.... I got online and registered us. (gasp!)

Now, I know this seems a bit underhanded. And, normally I am not underhanded at all. But this HAD TO BE DONE. And I went home and told her right away. And she pulled up the site and looked at what I had picked out. AND IT WASN'T THAT BAD. The only thing that got her goat was the spoon rest "we" registered for.

But I needed a spoon rest.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I Am So Distracted That I Originally Published This Post with No Title...

I am completely and utterly distracted today. I actually have a rather interesting and labor intensive (GASP!) project at work this week... but I can't concentrate. I keep thinking about Amy's ring that needs to be picked up. And the dirt smudge on my dress that needs to come off. And the other tiny loose ends that are making me ever so slightly insane.

And in other news, I cleaned the stove, the toaster oven and the microwave this weekend. And dusted the baseboards. I know. You are enthralled by my life, aren't you? But I really want my house to be clean for my lovely wedding party friends who will be staying with me. So they feel special.* And that means there must be NO DOG HAIR ON MY BASEBOARDS. Whew! I feel better now.

I would ramble at you some more... but that is all I am doing... rambling. If I were cool like some of the bloggy folks that are having babies, I would have a ticker to count down the days until the big event. But, alas, I am not cool. So I will just tell you. Amy and I get married in 5 days. And, until then, apparently I will just be distracted.

*See, I am not that odd.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

My Feet Are Fine, Thanks!

Lots of folks have been asking me if I have cold feet lately. I assume they are not concerned about the fact that Amy cranks the air down to about 60 degrees in the house, but rather that Amy and I are having our commitment ceremony in 9 days. And to all ya'll who have expressed concern, I say: My feet are fine, thanks!

I was incredibly nervous about two weeks ago. I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, in the middle of a vicious anxiety attack. But it appears now as though the panic was derived solely from the fact that we had procrastinated about everything except the venue. As of this past Saturday: I hadn't dropped off my dress to have it altered, we didn't have rings, and we had no vows. Hm. I wonder why I was stressed?

But as soon as I dropped off my dress with Mrs. Swan on Monday, the anxiety dissipated. I feel relaxed! Refreshed! Excited!

Okay, okay. I am nervous about standing up in front of about 75 folks and saying vows and whatnot. I am hoping to avoid passing out or some such nonsense. But we have rings! And today we finalized the vows! So, even if I do pass out, it will probably be after I have wowed the attendees with my brilliant and classy taste in prose and have a new tiny handcuff (I MEAN RING!) on my finger.

Honestly, I have been sure about Amy since I met her. We had quite a few trials and tribulations the first six months of our relationship (read: we broke up as often as most people change underwear), but I knew all along that she was right for me. THANK GOD she wised up and realized that she couldn't possibly allow me to slip away! Lucky girl, she is.

I am looking forward to May 27th.... I am beyond thrilled to celebrate my relationship with Amy in the company of our families and friends. And I am going to look damn good in that wedding dress. Oh, yeah... and then there is the excitement of offering to build a future with Amy, offering her my love and devotion, and commiting my life to her. That stuff is pretty cool, too.

Yeah, my feet are feeling just fine.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Told You So

Just so you understand the people I work with:

Co-worker: Yeah, I was out of the office all last week because my friend in North Carolina was committing suicide.

Me: (in my head) WTF? Did you just say that? Rather glibly? And did you go there to help her? Or stop her? WTF?
(out loud) Gosh... um... I am sorry to hear that.

Co-worker: Yeah, she isn't even a close friend. I think it was a God thing. You know, the Holy Spirit working in me to save her.

Me: (in my head) Uh-huh. And did God also tell you to shout out that you "saved her." I am sure you just received your reward on Earth for that one... so don't go looking for a reward in heaven.
(out loud) Glad things worked out. So, about this project...
**************

TOLD you this place is whacked.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Feeling HOT, HOT, HOT

My sister comes into the Tampa Bay area for work about once every three weeks or so. When she is here, she and I usually get to spend one night playing in the kitchen. Last night, I actually did most of the cooking (She has a degree in hospitality. She can whip up an entire meal in the time it takes me to chop an onion. Seriously.) I only cut my finger once. Which I have NEVER done before while cooking. My sister looked at the two tiny droplets of blood on a paper towel and acted like I had severed an appendage. OH MY GOD! IS THAT YOUR BLOOD ON THAT PAPER TOWEL?!? Over-protective little sister. Sheesh.

Anyway, the menu last night was African Peanut Soup and Spinach Chickpea Curry. The soup, although it takes quite a while to simmer, was excellent. It may be my new favorite soup. The curry... oh, the curry. I ASKED Angie, as I was making dinner, if she didn't think a whole TABLESPOON of curry paste sounded like a bit much. No, no, if the recipe says so, just go with it. Yeah.

We all got about four bites into the curry before we could feel our sinuses igniting. Two more bites, our heads were in flames. The stuff was so hot, we couldn't eat it. Literally. So hot, in fact, that Angie almost fell over the dogs' gate trying to sprint to the bathroom. That hot.

Note to self: Curry paste = lethal weapon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

You Will Be SO Relieved....

I took my wedding dress (and, yes, it is an honest to God wedding dress.... and NO I do not look like a cream puff) to have it altered today. Whew! You were nervous about that one, weren't you?

The conversation with the seamstress went something like this:

Seamstress (a.k.a. Mrs. Swan from Mad tv): You need alter? You try on dress.

Me: Uh... yeah, yeah... I need alterations to this dress.

Mrs. Swan: You try on. In back. Curtains. You see.

Me: Uh. Okay.
(I change into a dress that is obviously too big for me everywhere except the hips)

Mrs. Swan: You need alteration on this dress? Too big?

Me: Uh... yeah. Too big and too long?

Mrs. Swan: Where your bra?

Me: Well, I was hoping to not have to wear one?

Mrs. Swan: You get married? This marriage dress? You get married, no wear bra?

Me: (mortified) I can grab a strapless bra. That is fine.

Mrs. Swan: Turn round. Why this long piece in back? Only long on top, not bottom. You want take in long piece?

Me: (confused) Um... I think they meant it to be a train, kinda? You can take it in though. That is fine.

Mrs. Swan: You turn round again. When wedding? Turn round.

Me: Uh, yeah... wedding... It's in two weeks. On the 27th of May.

Mrs. Swan: Okay, turn round again. Okay, step down. Done. You pick up Saturday at 2. (she walks away)




That's right. I was poked and prodded by Mrs. Swan for 30 minutes first thing this morning. All before my first cup of coffee.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fear*

The summer after our sophomore year in college, my girlfriend and I decided to stay in Tallahassee instead of living at home for the summer. We would get to spend the whole summer together. But there was a down side. We had to live in scholarship housing. We could share a room, but we couldn't let anyone know we were gay. Yeah. Consequently, she and I spent many a night walking around campus, chatting and smoking clove cigarettes.

One evening, the campus was particularly quiet. We were walking across the large parking lot known as The Dust Bowl. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a white car rounding the corner. I immediately tensed. Something wasn't right.

The car picked up speed and screeched into the parking lot. I spun my head around to determine the extent of the threat. And then I saw it. A shotgun. Stuck out of the car window. At the same time, I realized that there were at least 5 men in the car. I could hear them shouting at us to get down. But I knew that lying on the ground would mean a gang rape or death. I wasn't going to easily surrender to either.

My head was spinning, my heart was pounding... I screamed at my girlfriend to run. I tore off toward the street, screaming. But my screams were echoing off of the empty buildings. Campus was desolate. No one could hear me. I was going to have to save myself.

Suddenly, a thought literally sucked the wind out of me. Where was my girlfriend? Why wasn't she right beside me?!

I looked back. Her eyes immediately met mine. She was literally frozen with fear. Oh my God. They can't hurt her. Not her. And in a split second, I made my decision. I was going back for her. I whirled around and ran toward her, as the men in the car sped toward her too. Not her. They can't have her.

I grabbed her hand and we took off diagonally through the parking lot, toward the buildings. Still screaming. And running. And I knew they might catch up to us. But they would have to take us both this time.

My memory stops there. I can't remember why they left. Maybe it was our screaming. Or maybe we were just more feisty than they had counted on. I can tell you, it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.

But, in the end, I am not certain what frightened me more: starring down the barrel of a shotgun or realizing that I loved someone so much that I would sacrifice my life for her.


*Trista began this short story theme last week.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Why? Because I am CRAZY.

I sincerely want to thank ya'll for your words of support and well wishes as I faced my 75 mile journey from Miami to Key Largo. I was scared. Out of my mind. And for good reason, as I later discovered. But it helped to know that the internets were pulling for me.

So, the Tale of the MS 150 Bike Ride...

On Saturday morning, we got up at 3:00 a.m. To head to Homestead to start the ride. No, I didn't mis-type anything. 3:00 a.m. And I was so nervous that I couldn't even be tired. No, wide-eyed and bushy tailed. That was me.

Why was I nervous? Well, when I signed up for the ride, I hadn't really considered the route we would be taking. I was focused on whether or not I could pedal a bicycle for 75 miles. But, the night before the ride, I began to ponder how one would travel from Miami to Key Largo. And then it came to me... one does that by riding on TWO LANE ROADS. There is no other route. There is no way to get to the Keys except this TWO LANE ROAD. That we would be sharing with VEHICLES. Cue Kendra to get NO sleep.

So, around 4:45 a.m., when we finally got all of our crap together (there were five girls riding and two accompanying cheerleaders... that is some serious chaos. Like wrangling cats.) and were headed to Homestead, I mentioned my nervousness to my little sister. Her response? Oh yeah, there really aren't many precautions in place. One year someone died on the ride. WTF???

So, armed with the knowledge that someone died trying to complete this ride, I embarked on my journey. It was 7:40 a.m. First obstacle: sunscreen in my eyes. That's right. I am trying to navigate a bicycle with only one eye open. Oh, and did I mention that I had never ridden this particular bicycle for more than one mile before? Uh huh. Brand new bike. On a 75 mile ride. BRILLIANT. (As an aside, I am in love with the new bike now... but STILL! Who starts a brand new relationship on a 75 mile ride?!?)

Things go pretty well for the first 30 miles. Keep in mind that my "training" consisted of two lengthy rides. Yes, only two. The longest of those two was around 34 miles. So, miles 30-40 went ... badly. VERY badly. I thought I was going to pass out. Then I thought I was going to throw up. It was 11:30ish in the South Florida sun. The heat was coming up off of the pavement in waves. I was guzzling water out of my pak... and drinking Gatorade at every stop... but the heat was almost unbearable. I seriously began to question if I could make it.

Amy was incredibly kind at mile 40. There was a rest stop. She brought me Gatorade. She found a tiny patch of shade for me. Because there was NO SHADE ANYWHERE on the route or in most of the rest stops. Just sun. Blazing sun. Amy gave me a pep talk. We were sticking together at this point. The other girls were ahead of us. The next stop was lunch at mile 50.

Somehow, I rallied after the rest and Gatorade. Feeling pretty good, I was keeping a decent pace. Decent, not good. We were the Happy Tortoise Cycling Team, after all. But, right before lunch, things got really confusing. The route wasn't marked well. There were no signs telling us that a rest stop was coming up. Amy was dead tired and convinced we were going the wrong way. Then she was certain we had missed the rest stop. I was equally certain that we had NOT missed the rest stop, but kept that mostly to myself to avoid having a circa 1983 Trek thrown at my head. We asked three different people how far the rest area was. The first person said it was half a mile. The second person told us we had, indeed, missed it AND LUNCH ALONG WITH IT. The third person confirmed that we were only a short distance away... but by this point, Amy had had enough. She caught a ride for the last mile before lunch. I pedaled away doggedly.

Lunch... yeah, no one told me that when your body is that exhausted, you really have little interest in food. It tried to eat pasta. Nope. Fruit. I could eat fruit. And more Gatorade. And water. But anything solid sat in the pit of my stomach like a baseball.

Amy and I had a lengthy discussion about whether or not she wanted to continue after lunch. I knew if she didn't, that I needed to cut my break short and get on the road as quickly as possible. She was insistent that, while there was nothing she wanted less than to get back on her bicycle, she felt compelled to go on. So we set out together. But within about 3 miles, it became apparent that Amy wasn't going to make it 20+ miles. I lost my riding partner.

This brings me to the most trying part of my journey. The last 25 miles of this ride were the most desolate, isolated, soul-scorching landscape I have ever seen. There was NOTHING but grass. Brown, dry grass. And occasionally a bit of water. The smell of death was literally everywhere... I was constantly gagging or sucking down water to avoid vomiting. I prayed. I begged for mercy. I cried. I considered quitting. But I pressed on anyway. I had to. I can't explain why. I just had to finish.

Then, the most amazing thing happened. I pulled into the rest stop 11 miles from the finish line... and I saw Betsy running toward me to greet me. She was jumping and bouncing and handing me Gatorade... And she didn't even know that the whole time I had just been praying that she might be at one of the rest stops. That maybe if I saw her, I would be able to finish. And there she was. I cried. And then I realized that Angie was there, too. And Heather. And Doc. And Laura. And Brenda. They had ALL waited for me. The girls that had trained for this by riding every weekend. The girls that could pace at 17 mph, while I could only ride 13 mph by this point. THEY ALL WAITED. Very few times in my life have I been that grateful.

They rode with me for the remaining 11 miles. Angie was there when I told her I didn't think I could make the last 4 miles. And she and Heather calmly but firmly told me I WOULD ride those last 4 miles. Heather promised that the scenery and civilization of Key Largo would make those last 4 miles fly by. They didn't. But it was a nice gesture on her part.

I have rarely been as proud of myself as I was when I crossed the finish line. I felt like I had searched the depths of my soul and found something precious... my strength. And, as gruelling as the whole experience was, I would do it again.

But, maybe next time I will train a bit more. Heh.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Just Dropping In to Say Hey!

In a few short hours, Ames and I will be on the road to Ft. Lauderdale. We will spend the night with my sister, then we will get up at 3:30 a.m. to head to Miami for the MS 150 Bike Tour.

I am excited and nervous. I have that clenched up feeling in my stomach that I get when I am overwhelmed by something. Seventy-five miles, folks. That is a long way. What if I can't do it? What if, what if, what if??? But, at the same time, I am really looking forward to proving to myself that I CAN do this.

I am sure there will be pictures. And I promise to write about the experience when I return. Heck, I promise to write about SOMETHING when I return. It has been too long, and I have reached a place where I NEED to write again.

For those of you who enjoy storytelling, skip on over to An Accident of Hope and read Trista's post for the day. Maybe you have a story to tell? (Suzanne, I am specifically looking at you on this one!)

Have a wonderful weekend! And, if you think of it, send me thoughts of courage and strength on Saturday. I will need them!

free web hit counter