So just before the wedding, when work was going crazy and wedding planning was driving me nuts and I was soooo stressed out, Enrique texted me two pictures of these two little guys he found at work:
Tell me please how you call animal control on those faces. We couldn’t.
The timing was not ideal for us to be taking care of more animals, but after doing some research, it appeared that the no-kill shelters in our area were going to ask us to hold onto them until they were just a little older anyway, so we let ourselves love them. It was pretty hard not to. I mean seriously, look at this:
We got them all cleaned up and de-flea’d and they crawled into bed with us every night and fell asleep. We knew we couldn’t keep them, but we decided to find a home for them ourselves so that they could stay together. E says that there were more kittens from that litter that never wandered onto his work’s property where he could catch them — he’s said many looked very ill and he believes some have died. The two that made it to our house clearly weren’t born into the most favorable of conditions, and it just seemed like the best thing we could do for them is make sure they got to stay together.
So that’s been our last six weeks with the kittens. We finally found a perfect home for them (with a veterinary student!) and sent them home with their new owner yesterday. It was a little sad:
But we got through it. They will be happy where they’re going, so we’re happy for that.
As I hope you know, out there somewhere, I’ve tried to keep doing something for you every year since you died.
This year, my Dad project is migrating all the past dad-related blog posts into the database behind my current blog. I’ve been tagging and making them visible all morning. There are still some things to be done, like adding the year into the post and salvaging comments and fixing dead links, but I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and this is a start. There was a while after you died where I resented myself more and more each day, like I had some sort of control over the fact that the further I moved into the future, the longer it had been longer since I saw or talked to you, like I was betraying you somehow by continuing to exist here on earth while you didn’t. Did you ever get onto a moving walkway at the airport and immediately regret it? Whatever the reason, you can’t get off because you’re stuck between mobs of strangers forcing you to move with the crowd, in their direction, at their pace. Life was like that, has been like that, and old blog posts are one way for me to go back and be a little closer to you.
I hope you saw that the wedding didn’t totally suck. We all missed you and I cried myself to sleep nights before, but the big day was a happy one and I think everyone did a good job of remembering you without letting your absence ruin the good things we could celebrate as a family. I was so sad at Christmas after you died; I remember going to all the traditional family functions, seeing my cousins all there with their parents, and feeling like we didn’t quite belong anymore. As though Pete and I were two apples rotting in the grass under the family tree, becoming less a part of the tree with every passing moment. Not the tree’s fault, of course, just physics and chemistry — unstoppable science. I couldn’t say anything then because I knew that if there was anything my family could do to graft us back into the tree, they would do it, and talking about how I felt would only make them feel like they were failing at the impossible. I just — in that day, I didn’t feel like much could be done to preserve what was normal to us. That was the best thing about the wedding — that my people were all there and they’re still my people, despite everything we’ve all been through.
The luna moth is still a mystery to me. Some people think it was your doing — was it? The gardens staff said it was quite uncommon; it is rather poetic that the aisle you should’ve walked me down gave birth —at the moment we arrived— to a creature whose lifespan is exactly long enough to reproduce. I’ve never done particularly well with people telling me where you are or aren’t — it’s just too vulnerable/personal for me to go there — but I’m glad my aunt got a picture of the moth because it is a good symbol and makes me happy to think about.
I still miss you so much, but life has gotten a lot better from the things I used to write about in the posts I restored today. E and I are happy, getting ready for our Nova Scotia trip in August. I think E will be the next honorary Cape Bretoner (and if we see that shirt I’m buying it for him) because the trip was all his idea, so Grandpa could go home again. He’s so much like you that way; I hate that you never got to meet each other.
Here is something else you will like: today is Sunday so we’re going to Skype with E’s family and then bust out some snacks and watch Ese Hombre Es Mio all together over the webcam. Not that you would like EHEM per se, but I know you would like the scheduled family time despite the distance. Especially on Sundays.
I hope you’re having a good day, wherever you are, whatever a day even means in your world. I love you.
Okay okay! Here’s the recap on the wedding I’ve been promising.
Ok, so. Starting with Thursday:
Enrique’s parents got into town after the usual customs harassment caused them to miss their Wednesday evening flight. I went with E’s dad to pick up the rental car, but it turned into a huge ordeal because E’s dad had paid for insurance and Thrifty had no record of it. It took us about 90 minutes to get it resolved, but in the end, E’s dad was triumphant and we were driving home in a properly insured car. The rest of the day was errand-running until my Mom, Pete, Rob, and Steve rolled into town, by which time I had chicken marinating and E’s mom had pork and beef marinating and pico de gallo made. We had a fabulous barbecue in the back yard; Pete lit the tiki torches and we had fresh tortillas from the panaderia around the corner and we all ate until we were stuffed.
Things were going a little too well by then, so Mom and I decided to have a dress rehearsal and it became clear that we’d had a miscommunication about the slip she was bringing — in my mind it was a smooth, basic undergarment to go under a pretty simple dress. In reality, it was a massive crinoline number that Mom picked up on Craigslist from, charmingly enough, the wife of the guy I asked to Sadie Hawkins in high school who totally shot me down. Good vibes all over the place. Later, when it was just E and me, I was sure to have a meltdown about how the dress wasn’t going to fit and how it would take a miracle for the wedding not to be a disaster. E did his best to calm me down and we agreed that I would try my dress on for him in the morning, bad luck be damned, and assess the situation then.
I went to the hotel with my mom/Pete/Rob/Steve, where we stayed up waiting for E’s family to get back from the airport. When they got back, I joined E for a quick hello/goodnight tour, and we quickly ran home to go to bed.
On Friday, I woke up frantic and hit the ground running with a vulnerable reveal of the wedding dress, which E deemed fine and then I felt both stupid (for stressing about it so much) and lucky (that E is the kind of guy you can talk to about these things). The panic about undone errands hit us both about 3 seconds later so we said a quick goodbye and took off like we were in our own version of The Amazing Race.
I still blush a little when I imagine what David Tutera would have to say about my morning. I had decided my best bet for a quick mani/pedi was the ghetto salon in the mall around the corner, so I went there and waited for them to open. Got the fabulous house special bunched-up-paper-towels-between-your-toes pedicure spa experience followed by a manicure behind a dumpy homeless looking guy with a hospital bracelet and seriously lacking hygiene getting fills —no joke— on his acrylic nails. Needless to say, I was feeling very bridal. After a few more stops, Mom met me to drive out to Cary for eyelash extensions (wooo Groupon), which was infinitely more pleasant and had me feeling great until we stepped out of the salon and I got a call from an unknown number. It was the guy I had tried but failed to establish a catering contract with for that night, calling to let me know all our food was ready. Ruh roh — we had ended up booking with someone else. I had never done or said anything that would make it reasonable to assume that we had an agreement so there was no reason for me to feel bad, but that Irish Catholic guilt worked on me the whole way home until I could write him and offer to pay for half of the wasted food.
Would-be caterer wrote back moments later to say it was all good and not to worry about it, so it turned out to not be a big deal, but I mention it because it felt like a pretty gigantic deal at the time. With Catergate resolved, we got back to other pressing tasks, like trying to organize the brazilian jazz tracks we selected for the wedding music and get the uploaded to use at the reception while Pete and Steve listened to a comedy show and Lola tried to scream louder than the TV. Enrique showed us the shoes he purchased while we were in Cary, along with the receipt to prove that he had managed to snag a 25% “international” discount on them. The only thing more ridiculous than the discounts Enrique asks for are the ones people actually cave and give him. The reliability with which my 29 year old husband can score the senior discount on services in Honduras really must be seen to be believed.
By this point I was running around pretty stressed because we had to get to the rehearsal, our ceremony wasn’t completely written, our reception plans were fairly vague, and we didn’t even 100% know what we were going to be wearing. I had forgotten to ask my Aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Dave (who were reading at the wedding) to come to the rehearsal and also neglected to have a copy of the ceremony. Luckily they made themselves available to come with us and my Aunt Anne was around to take a check from me to give to the caterer in case we were late.
The rehearsal did a lot to help us relax. Rebecca (the officiant) had us go through everything a few times, as we kept changing the ceremony. I was still a little nervous since E’s parents weren’t there and we’d decided to involve them in the ceremony, so a complete rehearsal wasn’t really possible. Still, we got a lot worked out. Rebecca closed the rehearsal with a prayer, and we all headed to the Inn for dinner.
The Inn is more like a gigantic bed-and-breakfast, and we’d rented the whole place out for the weekend with the idea that we could visit better that way. I’d seen so many people before the rehearsal, so it was a little eerie when we entered the Inn through the basement space (where we were having dinner) and saw all this yummy food but not a single soul besides us. We went upstairs to investigate and as soon as we opened the door into the first floor, it was like we had suddenly been transported to a super fun party we weren’t fully expecting. Everyone was there and looking amazing, it was just that my aunt had them waiting upstairs for us while we expected that people would be pooling around the food already. It was really sort of surreal how awesome it was, looking around and having all your people there.
The food was decent, the beer was good, and the company was excellent. Our families had put together a book of marital advice for us and it got passed around the room while people read their passages, which had been translated to Spanish when they were originally written in English and vice versa. We laughed and cried together and it was really good. Aside from just being really sweet, it was a good icebreaker that I can take no credit for since I didn’t know anything about it.
It was Rob’s birthday, so we brought cake, which my family wanted to eat on the sooner side (as there are kids in the family and we all know that it’s just not a good idea to push your luck with a child trying to wait patiently for cake) and E’s family wanted to eat on the later side (since in Honduran culture, the end of the food signifies the end of the party). We tried to time the actual cake serving between the two extremes. By the time Catherine’s and Alejandro’s/Keyla’s flights got in, the party had been consolidated to two tables of night owls. It was Keyla’s first trip to the US, so I didn’t really want to make her go to bed right away, even though we were sharing a room for the night and had to be up early.
Eventually we got up to the room and I realized that I didn’t have my hair clip for the next day, so I called Enrique to run home and get it. This is after I called him to run home and get my overnight bag, after I asked him to run home for at least one other thing. I feel like this is frequently noted both on this blog and in real life, but Enrique is a really good sport. I met him outside, got my hair clip, and went back upstairs, where I immediately realized that I didn’t have the earrings I’d picked out for the wedding. I did have one other pair in my bag that would do, though, so I decided not to bother E a fourth time. Keyla and I stayed up talking until we realized it was 2am and we had to be up at 6, so we decided to force ourselves to sleep.
I rarely have trouble sleeping, but it took me at least 90 minutes that night, probably more. There were lots of emotions — nervousness (mostly about wedding disasters – damn this imagination) and excitement and shock at the outrageousness that I was still not asleep.
And then it was Saturday.
Keyla’s alarm went off at 5am, the time she usually gets up to study in Honduras. I think I got a good hour’s sleep in before that. I tried to fall back asleep after she turned it off, but it was impossible. I finally gave up and got up at around 5:45. Catherine came over right at six and did my makeup in the little sunroom attached to the suite. She did Keyla’s makeup too and as usual, she did a really amazing job on both of us. A car door closed outside our window, and we looked down to see Sarah Der in the street, so we banged on the window and made excited gestures and ran down to see her. Also, for Raleigh/Durham brides or people needing photography, I need to note that on top of just generally being a really amazing person and photographer and taking gorgeous photos of our wedding, Sarah made quite an impression at our wedding and people still haven’t stopped telling us how sweet and attentive and creative she is and how much they enjoyed meeting her. So you should hire her for awesome photos and so everyone can can tell you what an awesome job you did with your photographer. You can thank me later.
The fun thing about having people come to you on the morning of your wedding, especially when you do things like we did, is that it’s like this perfect Christmas morning where the presents are all these people you love. First Catherine, then Sarah, and then Alesha showed up to do my hair. I’ve been going to Alesha for years and have followed her to a new salon 45 minutes away from our house because she’s just that awesome and I just really like her. My aunts came by and brought me food and I got lots of text messages from friends and maybe a little of it is the insane sleep deprivation, but it really felt very magical all around.
Mom and Rob took me to the ceremony site, where I hung back in the visitor’s center so E wouldn’t see me. It was 10 am. People took their seats, Pete walked me down the aisle, and E was there, looking good. Rebecca semi-drastically changed the ceremony from what we had rehearsed — for the better, but it caught me off guard a little bit. It all felt like it was over before it started, as we had kept it pretty simple. We had planned to leave time for people to tour the Gardens before the ceremony, but I think most of us just ended up hanging out under a tent graciously provided to us by the couple getting married there that evening. I had printed off maps of the gardens, which I’d forgotten to bring, but it hardly mattered. We took some photos and hung out with everyone and headed back to the Inn.
The reception was supposed to start at noon, but it really started earlier because that’s when people started showing up and the caterers were good at rolling with it. I’m a big fan of mimosas, so I had asked the caterer if they could be passed out at the door as people filtered in. I wasn’t sure it would happen, but I pretty much stopped stressing about everything as soon as we got to the Inn and I was immediately handed a yummy alcoholic beverage. And the cake was there! They didn’t even deliver it to the wrong place or drop it on the way in. These are the scenarios that I had been preparing myself for, ha ha. The cake was Mad Hatter’s Strawberry Shortcake, which is pretty much my favorite cake in town, and they were so helpful and friendly. It turned out prettier than I expected, so I was super excited about that. Excited enough to celebrate with another mimosa.
I had just about said hi to everyone when I realized we had no music. Since our reception was more of a cocktail format, we were just going to take advantage of the KDI’s excellent sound system and pipe that brazilian jazz I was talking about through the first floor. That was on an ipod in our suite. I ran up to get it and gave it to someone to get set up, and we opted to play it just in the dining room since no one was in there yet. The party didn’t really seem to be missing music since everyone was talking, and it seemed like it would be a little weird to just start broadcasting some in the middle of the party.
The food was plentiful and yummy and all around I felt like the atmosphere was fun and pretty casual. We didn’t really have a plan for any of it. When it seemed like the party was starting to die down a bit, we cut cake. When it seemed to happen again, I threw the bouquet. That was pretty much all we did and the rest of the party was just visiting with everyone that we could. The party ended a little early, which was reasonable since it started a little earlier than we’d planned. It all felt like good timing to me.
People kept telling us to go up to the suite and take some time to ourselves, but I really didn’t want to miss a moment with our families, so I was a little resistant to that idea at first. Finally, we agreed to take an hour to ourselves, so we went upstairs, opened a bottle of wine, and read through our family advice book that we’d gotten the night before. We talked about the day and Enrique brought out an envelope of artwork that Kenny Lee (the son of Suyapa, who is from E’s mom’s hometown, and Kenneth, who met Suyapa while volunteering there as a missionary after a hurricane). Kenny Lee is a very energetic boy with an uncanny ability to turn any household object into a weapon. We’ve spent many days together, running around his parents house as I try to protect myself from his various attacks. I have pretended to die many deaths at Kenny Lee’s hand. Given that history, I was surprised and touched by how much effort Kenny Lee put into this gift for us. There were so many drawings and crafts, but the one that made me cry was a piece of paper folded in the mix. It said “It’s weedig day!!!” and had a mini candy cane taped to it. It was just so sweet. Between that and the beautiful artwork we got from Sarah and Anna, our refrigerator is going to be stylin’ for quite some time.
I had really wanted to take a nap while we were upstairs, but I’ll admit that I didn’t want to mess up my hair. So instead I took a bath and changed into jeans and a t-shirt. We took half an hour to watch Say Yes to the Dress on tv (what can I say, we don’t have cable at home) and I felt very satisfied that I’d already said yes to my dress and the hard part was over but there was still lots of weekend left. It was a good feeling.
We went downstairs and Enrique ran home and came back with charamuscas (a honduran frozen treat made from milk and rum that E’s mom had made in Pete’s honor, since charamuscas were his favorite part of honduras) which we all lazily ate in the sunroom. We had promised to get a dinner plan together and between work and all the various wedding crises, I had not done anything about that. I went upstairs and called Pop’s Backdoor South to see if they could accomodate a bigger group with zero advance notice. They were super nice and worked with my slacker bride ass calling at the last minute and telling them that we needed a variety of pizzas to feed ~50 people.
The pizza was yummy and E’s family came back to the KDI to join us for dinner. They brought Flor de Caña and Coke and limes and we got the (after-)party started.
Poor Keyla crashed early and went up to our room and fell asleep. E and I stayed up and tried to visit with everyone until the party died down around 12:30, at which point we went upstairs. I had wanted Keyla to stay with me the night before the wedding but we never made a plan about where she’d stay after the wedding, so our room was as good as any and although there was a little couch in the suite, it was way not as comfortable as our bed, so E tucked me into bed with Keyla and promised to be back before we woke up.
Sunday morning, E made good on his promise and woke me up the next morning after a night at home. We went downstairs and everyone having breakfast clapped for us, which made me giggle a little because I’m sure everyone assumed we’d had this big romantic night. And it was romantic, actually, sneaking around the hotel and talking to people and discovering the leftover caterer food and sneaking cold cubanitos and basking the the glow of a wedding gone according to plan. We just happened to not spend our wedding night in the same building, ha ha. It’s okay though — we have the rest of our lives for that.
Breakfast was excellent and it was sad to say goodbye to everyone, but luckily we didn’t have to do it all at once. Some friends and family came by the house after the rest left from the hotel, and when they went home, Alejandro and Keyla were still there with us. We got takeout sushi and ate many pieces of leftover wedding cake and watched a movie that Keyla liked better when it was called Ocean’s 11. But it was really fun for me because it’s so rare that we all get to watch tv or a movie together, and when we do it has always been in Honduras.
In summary, it was a really wonderful long weekend, full of (almost) everyone we love and lots of yummy food and great memories. I am uploading pictures to Flickr as people are sending them to me and I am getting other scanned and uploaded here.