I felt like shit the day after Katie and Jacob’s wedding. I only had one drink, so I definitely wasn’t hungover. I blame Paul and I cramming in a little single bed. I also apparently came down with a cold.

That Monday, I traded cars with my dad so mine could get its bumper replaced, then we returned Paul’s tux. We ended up driving all the way back out later in the evening to have dinner with Brandon, Kelly, Katie, and Jacob so we could all hang out since Jacob was in town and Katie was leaving with him just two days later. It’s one of those things that proves we need to get together more often, but it’s obviously not really possibly. The goal is gonna be to clean up and have everybody over so when we inevitably just talk all night, we can all go right to sleep and not have to worry about sitting in a restaurant for forever or driving home or going to work the next morning.

We tried to go for a long walk in the park at some point in the midst of this cold, and it failed miserably. We’re up to 4 1/2 miles in a trip now, and I barely made it through two.

When I still felt pretty crappy and slept pretty crappy Monday into Tuesday, I decided to call off work. I ended up spending most of the day sleeping, which seemed to help a lot. I was hoping my car would be done, but it wasn’t until Wednesday, so I headed back out to get it.

Driving my dad’s car was terrible. I’ve borrowed it before for similar reasons, but going from a new car to his sucked. I only drove it like two or three times by the time mine was done, but I was so glad to have mine back.

I took advantage of the trip and did some free laundry–which I’ve been able to do a lot of lately–and stuck around long enough to see my mom for a bit after her meeting, and the rest of the week was work. I stopped at the mall Saturday, then went for a walk and to church yesterday before spending the evening at my parents’ to watch The Walking Dead together.

I may or may not have seen it at work last month. I may or may not have been sitting on the big death reveal that whole time.

Saturday 9: Can’t Stop the Feeling

Saturday 9: Can’t Stop the Feeling! (2016)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This is an upbeat, positive song. Are you feeling upbeat and positive right now? No, but that’s not to say I feel negative–I’m just feeling more relaxed and calm than anything.

2) Justin Timberlake is a good dancer. And why not? In this song, he sings he has “good soul in my feet.” Consider your own dancing talent and compose your own lyric: I have ___________ in my feet. My heart.

3) In the video, there’s dancing in the laundromat. Do you have dirty clothes in the hamper, or are you all caught up with your laundry? So here’s the thing–laundry is one of those things that’s pretty much impossible to catch up on, so I don’t bother. I do one big load in the actual washers once a week, and I do a smaller load in the mini washer I keep in my apartment. If I go to my parents’, I take advantage of free laundry, usually with towels or bedding that I can’t easily hang to dry. If I’m spending the night for some reason, I’ll take a load of regular clothes and hang them. Basically, I do laundry regularly but think it’s a waste of time and money to strive for an empty hamper.

4) There’s also dancing in the supermarket. What do you need to pick up at the store? A shipping envelope for some old clothes I got rid of on eBay. Get that extra money and clear out that space!

5) This song will appear in the upcoming Dreamworks Trolls movie. Some people believe Troll dolls are good luck. Do you have a good luck charm? Nope.

6) Justin Timberlake loves to dunk Oreos in milk. Crazy Sam thinks this is all wrong — the way to eat an Oreo is to twist the two halves apart and lick the cream first. Which method do you prefer, Justin’s or Sam’s? Sam’s. This is also a point of contention in my own home, as my fiancé dunks cookies. All cookies. I don’t like dunking cookies, partly because I don’t like my foods mixing, and I really don’t like cookie crumbs in my milk.

7) Justin admits to some fashion fails. He and Britney Spears wore matching denim outfits that he regrets, and he’s sorry he ever tried cornrows. What about you? Can you think of a look you thought was cool at the time, but now it makes you shudder? Ya know, I think we all have a personal style that evolves and look back on things we once wore and question our judgment, but I liked it at the time, so I don’t really care.

8) He is a very good golfer. When were you last on the golf course? Like, a real one, never. Mini golf, a few years ago, probably.

9) Random question: Think about your romantic involvements. Were you in love with one of them, some of them, or all of them? So my fiancé is the only person I’ve ever been in a real relationship with and the only person I’ve ever loved, although there were some crushes and close calls. I’d say there was a friend of mine and my brother’s I was very close to being in love with, but that’s it.

And so after something like a nearly two-year engagement and a total of six years together, Katie and Jacob are finally married!

It was one of those weddings that was kind of always a given. I think everybody that knows them always knew this day would come, it was just a matter of when.

Rehearsal was Thursday, so after a long work day, Paul and I threw on some nicer clothes, got stuck in damn construction traffic, and got to rehearsal slightly late–and I was actually kind of glad they didn’t wait for us to start. We hadn’t missed much anyway. When it did end, we headed over to Uniontown to a hotel for dinner, the planning of which had been an issue because Paul’s parents wanted to pay for it but rejected just about every place Katie suggested. Everything was either too expensive, not nice enough, or not suited to everyone’s taste in food. It’s one of multiple reasons why I don’t want Paul’s parents paying for ours, and as much as it sucks to watch what his mom in particular has put Katie and Jacob both through over the course of planning, it’s also shown me what I can expect and helped me develop a plan for how to handle these things if and when they come up over the course of planning our wedding.

And before we knew it, the wedding rolled around on Saturday.

The guys’ end of being in a wedding is so much more low-key. For my brother’s wedding, I spent the night at my parents’ and got up early for hair and makeup, but for best man Paul, it was just a day of cleaning and laundry while I knew we could squeeze it in, then getting ready and going to church.

Jacob was texting while we were on our way, complaining that his parents were picking up his grandparents and a family friend and hadn’t left on time. Had Paul and I known this, we would’ve left earlier to pick him up. Why they didn’t delegate this to another relative baffles pretty much all of us. They were the parents of the groom and had to get the groom to church on time, and they’re driving all over the county. It was ridiculous. But I learned from that, too, and we’ll be telling Paul’s family to show up for our wedding a half-hour earlier than everyone else.

Kelly and I got put on program duty at rehearsal, which gave us something to do before the wedding started and while Brandon and Paul were occupied with wedding-party duties. At some point, Paul’s mom said to me, “We get to plan yours next,” and I thought, “This isn’t a ‘we.'”

For the most part, the wedding went great. Katie looked beautiful and I loved her dress, and she was probably the happiest bride I’ve ever seen. I think it comes with the territory of being in a long-distance relationship and finally being married and able to start their lives together–the wedding was Saturday, and she moved out to California with him Wednesday. And I imagine there was also a level of relief that the planning was done and the day was there.

After the ceremony, there was the usual trip to take pictures, followed by the reception, where Julie’s boyfriend sat with me and my family because he didn’t know many other people and hates Paul/Jacob/Julie’s side of the family. In fact, when it comes to cranky significant others of the kids, Michael cracked the fastest and most dramatically. I don’t know if Katie and I have more patience or what, but Michael reached a breaking point much sooner than she and I did. He was in a mood, unfortunately, due to not liking the family, not liking weddings, and being stressed about exams at school, but he seemed to loosen up and enjoy himself and be relatively comfortable back with us. I’m told that when their mom went back to talk to him later, he told her he didn’t want to be there and tried to resist hugging her about as long as one reasonably can before you don’t have a choice anymore.

As for me and pretty much everyone else, as far as I can tell, we had a great time. I’m trying to eat less shit in general, so I did a pretty good job of not gorging on cookies until the very end of the night, when it was late, I was hungry, and I was out of other options. I danced plenty, and Paul even danced, too, which he’s been doing more now lately. He’s still a godawful dancer, but after six years of planting it in a chair, it’s nice to see him let loose and enjoy himself, especially when the last two weddings we’ve been to were our own siblings. When we weren’t dancing, we were hanging out chatting, mostly with Emily or Julie and Michael. We spent a little time talking to his dad, too, and talked some about Paul’s mom, her issues, Paul’s own depression, and how to get her help. We also mentioned that she’s vocalized some unnecessary concern about Paul’s drinking, and I made it a point to tell him I think it got blown out of proportion. I think if he at least understands the situation, he can reel her in some if need be.

The only other issue was an uncle who had so much to drink that he spilled a beer on their presents, spilled beers on some guests, and was complained about to Katie, who had him cut off, which didn’t go over well. His wife seemed pretty drunk, too, so it’s unclear as to who drove home or how wise a decision that even was, what with three young kids in the car and all.

When it was all over, we stuck around to do what we could helping with cleanup, and we were naturally sent home with just about anything they could get us to take. Which was a whole big box of cookies, a bag of oranges, some juice, and extra favors.

And then rather than drive 45 minutes home, we took advantage of Brandon and Kelly’s spare bedroom just 20 minutes away.

Booking Through Thursday: Recommend

Somebody walks up to you and says, “I need a really good book to read–any genre. What do you recommend?”

What’s the first book off the top of your head?

The “any genre” bit is great, because whenever someone asks for a recommendation, that’s the first thing I ask.

I don’t really have a go-to list of recommendations, partly because I don’t usually have something to recommend that people aren’t already at least familiar with. So I usually think of what I’m reading now or have read recently that really stood out, so going that way now and picking from the stack I’m currently reading, I’d recommend:

  • Bossypants by Tina Fey because it’s funny and a fun look at her career, especially SNL. Reading it now is particularly fun because in the midst of Donald Trump whining about Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of him, I’m reading about Tina Fey’s experiences impersonating Sarah Palin.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot because it’s an interesting read not just from a scientific and medical standpoint, but also because of issues of race it raises.
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman because for being considering a children’s series, it’s really dark and complex and fascinating.

Leading up to his and Katie’s wedding over the weekend, Jacob came home about a week in advance. Between that and Emily’s birthday a few days prior, I was fully expecting a last-minute invite over to Paul’s parents’ place at some point last weekend, especially when Jacob mentioned they were gonna be there last Sunday for dinner.

Work was particularly busy and offered double overtime pay for any extra hours worked that weekend, so I did my Saturday rotation and then went in for a half-day Sunday, making a pit stop on the way home to grab a late birthday present for Emily–I knew if we didn’t get the last-minute invite we were expecting, we’d be seeing her at the wedding rehearsal Thursday anyway.

I came home, made some lunch, made some comment to Paul about getting invited over, and sure enough, maybe only an hour or so later, his dad texted to have us over for dinner a few hours later. It interfered with our churchgoing, so we went to church first, then went out there.

It was a pretty typical visit. Julie and Michael weren’t in from Erie yet and Katie and Jacob weren’t gonna be over for another hour or so, so for a little bit, it was just Paul and I with the family. He mentioned later that he could tell I was uncomfortable until his parents left to take Emily back to her dorm for the week.

Part of that was, well, wedding stuff. Of course, Katie and Jacob’s wedding dominated the talk, but it did occasionally turn to ours. Paul’s mom told me at the beginning of summer that they’d pay for our cake, and at the time, I was a little hesitant but mostly okay with it. After having heard how things went with Katie and Jacob’s cake and after conversations Paul and I have had, I’m much less comfortable with it now.

I don’t remember if I ever mentioned the saga of their cake, but essentially, Katie wanted a traditional Hungarian cake, which has these really pretty colored flowers in icing on the sides. It’s really pretty, but apparently not traditional enough for their mom–my guess is her idea of “traditional” wedding cake is a pure white cake. So she told Katie that she wasn’t sure if the great-aunt making the cake could do that. Now, as soon as I heard this from Paul, I called bullshit. Their Aunt Mary doesn’t make cakes professionally as her full-time gig, but it’s more of a side business, and she’s been doing it for a long time. Anyone who makes wedding cakes surely is capable of putting flowers on it. Our theory is their mom was hoping Katie would buy that line and would settle for something else. On top of that, there was some disagreement over whether the cake would be on a separate table or with the cookies. I can’t remember which way Katie wanted it, but Paul and Jacob’s mom said she was “putting her foot down” about it and raised her voice to Katie over it. The funny thing is that for Paul, Jacob, and Emily, who witnessed this, they don’t consider it yelling compared to what they endured growing up, but from my perspective and I suspect Katie’s, anyone raising their voice to a bride because they want something their way and want to disregard her wishes is completely unacceptable, no matter the volume. After all of this, Paul and Jacob’s mom met with Aunt Mary without Katie or Paul and Jacob’s sisters, which Emily suspected was intentional. On top of all of that, for a long time, Katie didn’t even know whether or not Aunt Mary was even doing the cake because Paul and Jacob’s parents kind of dragged their feet getting in touch with her and wouldn’t give Katie her phone number, another thing I suspected was intentional so that it forced Katie to go through them to get the cake. As late as August, when I asked Katie for the number for us to get in touch with her, Katie still didn’t have it. Ultimately, she had Emily take a picture of an order form from her for cookies, and then she sent it to me. I suspect the fact that we went around his parents completely to get in touch with her is gonna be an issue.

In the end, by the way, Katie did get the cake she wanted. It was beautiful and delicious.

So knowing all of this, I’m uncomfortable with Paul’s parents paying for this cake, no matter how much she insists I can get what I want. Unless she’s had a drastic attitude change, I have a really, really hard time believing that’s how it’s gonna play out. I believe she means it now when she says it, but I’m afraid that if she doesn’t like what we want, it’s gonna become a problem. So when she mentioned again last Sunday that they’d be paying for the cake, I wanted to shut it down. I felt outright saying, “I’m uncomfortable with that,” in the middle of dinner in front of all the kids and Katie was rude, and I knew it cold get ugly fast if I did, so I tried to tell her we’d discuss it later. When she said we could get it from whoever we wanted, I was about to say that I had some concerns and wasn’t comfortable with it, but Katie jumped in. I suspect she could tell where that conversation was headed–when it comes to this family, Katie and I, as well as Julie’s boyfriend, Michael, are on the same page on a lot of things. We talk. We compare experiences and share advice, particularly Katie, who’s been around the longest at this point. If I hadn’t told her how I felt about them paying, she probably figured it out in that moment. Whether she did or not, whether intentionally or coincidentally, she probably saved that entire dinner, because before I got a word out of my mouth, she said how great Aunt Mary’s cake for her was and that I wouldn’t want anything else. Either way, God bless her.

As for our cake plans at the moment, Paul did speak to Aunt Mary, who can’t commit this far in advance due to an uncle’s poor health. She said she’d love to do it and is so pleased to be asked by us and Jacob and Katie that it’s real kind of adorable, and she said to check in with her in a few months and to have a backup baker just in case. That backup is most likely gonna be Terra’s sister-in-law, but after seeing and eating Aunt Mary’s cake, I really, really hope she can do it. I totally understand if she can’t and I don’t blame her at all for not being able to commit to it, but I’m gonna be so disappointed if it doesn’t work out.

Things also seemed to get a little tense when Paul and Jacob’s mom started asking Katie for a rundown of the wedding-day itinerary. Wanted a timeline made sense, but she wanted details to the point that I started to think it was excessive, like wanting to know if the bridal party would pair up at Katie’s house and ride church that way, which seemed pretty pointless to me. They’re all going to the same place. Who cares? She was also pretty insistent on taking pictures of everyone at the house, and when Katie said no, she was like, “Oh, Katie, you have to take pictures at the house.” No, you can do it at church and before you go to the reception or during the reception or pretty much whenever you want. It was like she wanted big group pictures every step of the way, and when I mentioned this to my mom, she mentioned that she thinks she’s stuck on the super traditional way weddings used to be done.

When the parents left to take Emily back to school, we kind of relaxed and let loose a little more and hung out and talked a little more freely, getting into things like how Paul’s mom told me she loved me, which I don’t believe, and how they’re insisting that Katie call her mom, which we both agree we don’t want to do. As Katie put it, “She’s not my mom,” and we don’t feel close enough to her or hell, even respected or liked enough by her to grant her that title. Sounds like their dad in particular is pushing for it, and should he say it to me, I think I’m gonna have to tell him I can’t. Funnily enough, though, I’m less opposed to calling him Dad.

We ended up hanging around a good bit later than we intended, and I wanted to leave before they got back and we got stuck even later, potentially faced with more awkward wedding conversations. So as the night crept on closer and closer to when I feared they’d be getting back, I cut us off and pulled us out.

It’s just so easy to hang out and shoot the shit with Katie and Jacob–or any of the older siblings, at this point. It happens a lot with Julie and Emily, too. It’s kind of nice, but it’s tough when we’re limited on time, especially now that Julie and Michael are in Erie and Katie and Jacob are off to California tomorrow morning. When everyone’s home for the holidays, I’m determined to get us in either our place or Brandon’s so we can bullshit as much as we want as late into the night as we want without having to worry about going home or getting up for work the next day. I guess it’s also why I’m so hell-bent on hosting parties and dinners when we have a house someday, because the older we all get–even counting my friends here–the harder it is to get together, yet the easier it is to kill hours just talking when we are together. I feel like if we can block out the time, provide a space, and take the initiative to make it happen, we’ll all be happy with it.

Saturday 9: If I Knew You Were Comin’

Saturday 9: If I Knew You Were Comin’ (1950)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1) This song is performed by a woman who is positively tickled to have unexpected company. How do you feel when people  drop by unannounced? In general, I don’t like it. I think it can be kind of rude because you never know what people’s plans are or even if they’re prepared to host people.

2) She is clearly proud of her skills in the kitchen. Do you enjoy baking? Cooking? I’m trying to learn to like it. I don’t do much baking, but I’m trying to cook more.

3) Reference is made to hiring a band. Tell us the last time you were at an event with live music. At a wedding last night!

4) After making recordings in the early 1950s, Eileen Barton appeared on daytime TV in the early 1960s — including a game show called Video Village. Let’s say we’re all headed to a TV game show taping this morning. Would you volunteer to appear as a contestant? Or would you rather just stay in the audience? Depending on the show, I might consider appearing as a contestant, but I’d mostly prefer the audience. I think being a contestant would make me too nervous.

5) In 1961, Ms. Barton got married in Juarez, Mexico. What’s the longest distance you’ve ever traveled to attend a wedding? Just a state over in Ohio.

6) In 1950, when this song was popular, the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. Are you looking forward to the upcoming NHL season? Yes! Hockey is the only sport I like. And I really, really like it. Go Pens!

7) 1950 also marks the first time anyone in the United States paid by credit card. Do you pay with a credit card to get rewards? If yes, what rewards are you accumulating (points, cash back, airline miles)? I have a card that accumulates points, but I ran the balance up a decent amount one Christmas, so I’m trying to pay that off and avoid using it in the meantime. I have a second points card, too, that I got to finance a new computer with a promotional zero interest rate, but I’m avoiding using that until the balance from the computer is paid off. I’d rather only have that to worry about with the zero interest than anything else.

8) In 1950, an athlete named Florence Chadwick swam the English Channel. Are you a good swimmer? I mean, I won’t drown if I don’t have to go too far, so that’s got to count for something.
9) Random question: Think about the last “white lie” you told. Was it to spare someone’s feelings, or to make your day go more smoothly? My white lies are generally solely to spare feelings, and even at that, they’re rare. I’d even argue that occasionally, lying to spare someone’s feelings and to make your day go more smoothly are the same thing sometimes.

Friday 5: Be of Good Cheer

  1. What’s something non-political you’re rooting for nowadays? My hockey team–the Pittsburgh Penguins, of course.
  2. What were the circumstances–and who was the recipient–the last time you were part of a standing ovation? I can’t remember the last time I actually participated in one, but it’s really, really likely that it was either a concert or theater. But the last time I saw one in action was at a Penn State football game honoring Joe Paterno. I did not stand.
  3. What’s a cheer you remember from high school or college? My high-school mascot was a gator, and we had this one that went, “Let me see your alligator!” And we’d respond, “What did you say?” That repeated three times, then everyone would extend their arms in front of them and clap their hands to imitate an alligator snapping.
  4. What inanimate object in your residence deserves applause for its outstanding role in your life this past week? Probably my laptop. I use it nearly constantly.
  5. When was the last time a group of people clapped for you? I think probably in the spring, when I went to my old college and did a reading for alumni night.

From here.