“Oh Yeah, the Wedding…”: A Nonchalant Wedding Existence

Well, the academic year began. And, I was henceforth completely overwhelmed.

Pastry and I are trucking along, commuting through the desert, going to NFL games, making insane amounts of plans for the one day off a week we tend to take, harassing each other to do our homework/design projects/mow the waving lawn, taking the dog-boys for bike rides, trying to coordinate visiting his grandma in Tampa, doing the endless piles of laundry that seem to come along with being an adult, etc. Exciting, no?

Meanwhile, my new love is spray painting random items in our house either red or a various metallic colors. My work version is that I laminate things  when I’m stressed. Beyond stockpiling cardboard for spray paint projects and making hardy, weatherproof signs, I’m taking three doctoral classes and teaching a course for undergraduates on top of my regular full time job, so any delusions of free time I might have this semester really were delusions. While shoving fries in my mouth while frantically driving between campuses for classes last week as I had forgotten to pack dinner, a tiny thought flitted by my mind, “Maybe I should be dieting for the wedding to better fulfill my OPTIMUM BRIDE POTENTIAL.” To which my brain said, “Meh. Eat those fries or otherwise you get really cranky in your class by the time 10:00pm rolls around.”

My ultimate downfall, especially when served Animal Style.

Besides, my friends and family know I have arms more in line with the Pillsbury dough boy than Michelle Obama, and it’s not like eventually wearing a white dress for one day six months down the line should be the only reason for a lifting schedule and sudden French-fry-less clean eating. I do have health and fitness goals, but they are just not wrapped up in feelings related in any way to wedding shenanigans, hence why the lone French-fry, bridal readiness thought was so odd.  My larger life issue is more prioritizing health goals for myself is quite hard right now, and when you are chronically mentally and physically tired from a busy life, French fries almost always seem like a good idea. (As they are delicious.)

Otherwise, wedding stuff is the least stressful part of my whole life. I just cannot muster any worry, obsession or preoccupation around anything wedding related. We’ve booked almost everything and figured out what we want. At some point, we need to spray paint (YES! Stress relief!) a bunch of dinosaurs and make a fun streamer arch. Given my normal job of constructing large LED birch trees for public art projects and Pastry’s epic handyman skills, we got this.

A wedding arch made of mini-kegs of Canadian beer. See? We’re not even that fringe!

We ordered some standard invitation samples, and promptly meh-ed at them. I designed a couple options and they were, well, honestly a bit too classy for our eclectic affair. Then we happened upon some glorious invites which will likely make a good portion of guests think we are more than slightly crazed. But, you know, I truly doubt we will look back on our wedding when we are yet older and wrinklier, and say, “I regret nothing but those insanely quirky and fun invitations featuring an awful pun and something we both love. That…that was the beginning of the end.” Then we will turn to each other and startle as we recognize each other again, and instead of perishing in each other’s arms as Nicholas Sparks would have us believe as a romantic end, we will likely make T-Rex noises (via Jurassic Park) at each other before going back to nap on the couch.

The call of true love.

The Ring Count

The Ring Count, not to be confused with the 1998 thriller Body Count featuring Ving Rhames, David Caruso, John Leguizamo, and Forest Whitaker. Selected quote from movie: “The toes you step on today may be attached to the ass you’ll be kissing tomorrow.”

Each day I keep count how many people ask about my engagement ring. Or, rather ask about its whereabouts as if it is possibly on sabbatical and traveling the continent for the summer. I rather like the idea of telling people that pleasant fiction.

“Oh, The Ring is on a whirlwind tour of eastern Europe until the 5th of August. It will be touring the nuclear bunkers of Prague, remnants of the Cold War era located five miles below ground, while also working on its dissertation on the use of graffiti to portray popular culture, obviously making a stop at the Lennon Wall. Additionally, The Ring mentioned that it was excited to pick up a bit of lead crystal on its journeys, as only the ‘Rolls Royce of Bohemian Glass’ could possibly compete with The Ring’s own luster.”

And, then I will just smile politely and stare them down until they turn away in confusion.

Except from The Ring’s travel journal: “Today I imagined, (ha ha, get it?) a time when I would return to the idea of ‘all you need is love.’ Alas, four tourists from Bolivia approached me as I was leaving the Lennon Wall, and upon finding out I was engaged, quickly asked about where my bride was.”

I get asked on average about two to three times a day about The Ring’s existence, whereabouts, plans, future endeavors. I feel like a groupie to The Ring at this point, filling in outsiders on its itinerary and future special engagements. “Oh, The Ring will be making an appearance soon, likely in August at a small venue. We will tweet out a password no less than 18 hours prior to its arrival so you can gain access to The Ring’s full unveiling. Very hush, hush for limited audiences, you know.”

Little does everyone know that The Ring in question does not even exist yet.

Pastry had a plan. He had a plan involving his grandmother’s gaudy but “I’m pretty sure Cucumber will love it actually” sapphire cocktail ring. One night when we had a bit too much wine by our outdoor fireplace (second best purchase after our memory foam mattress topper which we lovingly refer to as “The Blue Marshmallow of Awesome”), we got to talking about the whole marriage thing and he spilled the beans on the plan. Then, lo, the vintage ring was no place to be found. So, Pastry asked for some help in terms of what might work for me ring-wise.

And, dear god, that was way more difficult than I ever thought it might be. And, I was suddenly struck by how many feelings I had about the symbol of the ring, what the ring represented, of what material it should be made, how it should be made, and how I felt about wearing one symbolic item for the rest of my life.

“Two carrots, no less!” Know thy homonyms.

After I did some scouting, which I will talk about at some other point as it was a super interesting and bizarre process, we ended up going to a custom jeweler together to look at options. Ring shopping with Pastry was super fun, trying on tons of rings, making jokes about how some should come with an elaborate cape, pool boy, and a piano show in Vegas.

I want this one, and this one, and this one, and this one. Too much? Nope. Load on another! I want to feel FANCY!

We decided the diamond was not important, but the ring should be built to last decades, limiting the materials and center stone to a few options. We looked at center stones somewhat unenthusiastically until we found one that made us both go, “OOOOH, SO SPARKLY.” (It was so sparkly!) We chatted about it and the timeline, and moved on with our lives, content to lounge upon the Blue Marshmallow of Awesome until a later date.

Then Pastry surprised me.

I’m one of those annoying people who know the plot twist before it happens. I can be unbelievably absentminded sometimes, especially when given the opportunity to knock over fragile things, but it’s hard to surprise me. So, Pastry moved up the whole engagement timeline by about six months. And, thus, after an entirely sweet photo booth proposal because “I figured I should actually officially ask you if you wanted to get married,” this whole wedding thing began in earnest. And, The Ring became more of an active project than a sparkly idea.

So, The Ring, like the Holiday Inn Express in your hometown or yet another poorly constructed Adam Sandler movie, is coming soon. Date still to be determined. Besides my snark about the constant questions about the ring, I sincerely do not mind explaining to people about The Ring’s design, process, and future debut. Like many things for which it is worth waiting, The Ring is worth it because The Pastry is worth it.

However, I make no promises that I will refrain from making up elaborate tales about The Ring’s summer plans.  After all, The Ring may have to unexpectedly visit the whimsical Dr. Seuss House in Willow, Alaska or go to the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw Festival. The Ring has plans until it arrives. But, when it arrives, it will stay.