I had a small to-do list for before the wedding, the main ones being buy myself a case of Angry Orchard or Redd’s, clean my engagement ring, and do my nails. But the day got away from me, and none of those things happened.

I did manage to throw together a slideshow for rehearsal, though, and Mac’s slideshow feature is pretty cool and super easy to use. We were able to export it as a video file, throw it on a flash drive, and just let it play for the whole time we were there.

I can’t remember if I mentioned this at the time, but rehearsal dinner was on track to become an issue with his mom before we squashed it. At some point, she started talking about wanting to have dinner in Uniontown, an hour away from actual rehearsal, so that was when we fast-tracked choosing a place and settled on President’s Pub–they charge you to use the private room, but combined with the price per late compared to other local restaurants, the price ended up being about the same and for better quality, and they did a really good job. We tried to avoid food that was too similar to what we were serving at the wedding, so we got a pasta, lemon chicken, salad, and a veggie risotto, plus a selection of pies they put out for dessert. And we could take our time and hang out, plus it’s probably the place we got to the most often in Washington, so by then, we’d seen and talked to the events coordinator a few times. And she’s awesome.

In the early days of planning, we weren’t sure how to approach gifts for our parents–and since Katie and Jacob didn’t get any, we were off the hook for it if need be. My biggest concern was not finding things for my dad or his mom, as sappy, sentimental gifts would be awkward and insincere, so I figured if we found something, great, and if we didn’t, it didn’t matter. And this is where Etsy is kind of amazing, because I found beautiful hankies for both mothers, big wooden beer steins from the fucking Ukraine for Paul’s dad, plus Paul and Jacob, too. My dad doesn’t drink, so instead, I found him a “father of the bride” coffee mug and gave him two bags of Harry & David coffee to go with it. It was funny to watch everyone carting around their mugs all night, so they seemed to really enjoy them.

Mother-of-the-bride gifts are way easier to find, so my mom ended up with a little extra that I gave her privately after rehearsal–a mug to match the one I got my dad and a figurine of a mother and bride, which she loved. And with that one, I even asked if they had one for the mother of the groom, and they don’t even make one, which I have to admit is bullshit. She would’ve loved one, and honestly, I would’ve happily bought it. But nope, all about the brides.

After we ate, we girls snuck out to gab in the parking lot, mostly to get to scoop on what his mom had been complaining about behind our backs–the biggest stories were she was saying I’d regret having a shower and that she wasn’t included, and I can’t deny that one. In fact, it was straight-up intentional, but we did what we had to do to have the wedding we wanted without fighting over ever little thing the whole time. Later, when I asked my mom what the two of them had talked about while they were sitting together, she said Paul’s mom started going on about how Jacob and Katie didn’t include her in their wedding planning, which is bullshit, and how hurt she was by that, and my mom was trying to gauge what she wanted out of the conversation, whether it was a warning or to see if my mom had been included more. She tried to play it like she wasn’t, saying she didn’t know what kind of flowers we were having, for example, but she knew a lot more than Paul’s mom did.

We went in when we realized we’d been gone a long time, but turns out while we were gone, all the boys went down to the bar for beers. The next time we saw Paul’s mom after the wedding, she thanked Paul for including his brother Josh and taking him down to pick one out, since Josh isn’t the most social. The verdict is still out as to whether Josh cared as much as she did, but I say we take what victories we get.

One of the things I forgot to do earlier in the day, or more like couldn’t finish, was pack an overnight bag to stay with my parents…and then I ended up having to go back into my apartment twice because I realized I forgot something. Then I finally went to my parents’ house, hung out with Duke a bit, and slept for about four hours because I started to get too nervous.

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When Priests Are Also Assholes

So, obviously, the wedding day was hectic. At rehearsal, I’d expected to pay the choir, organist, etc. because at some point, that is what I’d been told, but none of them were actually there. So while I was sitting all done up waiting for my cue to go down the aisle, I was writing out checks to whoever I needed.

I forgot a check.

I remembered just a tad too late–after we’d left after the ceremony–that we still owed the church $150. “Whatever,” we thought, “we’ll take it to the office next week.” And we kind of forgot about it plus had other things going on, and on top of that, getting to the church office before it closes is tough. It closes at 4, and typically, Paul works until 3:30 and that’s when I’m just getting home, but lately, I’ve been working until 4, 5 the past two nights specifically. Paul can be home within 15 minutes, but then you have to truck it up to church fast. So it just wasn’t working out, and we had the post-wedding chaos of returning alcohol and mixers and taking care of anything else we needed to. The church check, honestly, slipped our minds, but the business manager did remind us. I asked him the best way to get it to him, he took a couple days to reply, and by then, it was the weekend. Paul even asked me in the pew this past Sunday if we could put it in the collection basket, and I said no, it has to go to the office. That or we could mail it, but why waste a stamp when we can just walk it up?

I’m not thrilled about the fact that we weren’t prompt with it. It’s one of our shared faults. I won’t deny we dropped the ball on that one, or that I should’ve replied to the business manager to let him know we’d be taking it to the office. However, the way it got handled after that is…unfortunate.

The main priest at the church e-mailed me this morning–not the one who actually performed the ceremony as he was transferred in July and came back for the wedding, but the main priest in charge at the parish now. When my phone pinged, I thought, “Oh, fuck, he’s probably not happy, better shoot a text to Paul to tell him to take a check up.” And honestly, all either of us needed was just a little prod. If you want to argue we shouldn’t need that, fine, whatever, but people forget things, shit happens, and that was honestly all it took to jog my brain right to, “Tell Paul to take a check.” So I’m expecting displeasure but otherwise civility, and what I got was pretty rude.

In retrospect, it’s not that bad, but it’s…not great. It’s a bit much under circumstances, especially between a priest and parishioner. The basic gist of it is the business manager forwarded our correspondence to the priest, who said, “I am disappointed that you continue to delay this process. Your casual manner in dealing with the payment due to the Church is ill-mannered,” and as a sort of PS, “This is the first time in 45 years I have had to send a ‘Second Notice’ regarding a Wedding.”

I won’t touch his questionable use of capital letters.

For starters, I take issue with the business manager going to the priest at all. To me, that’s something that should be a last resort, something you do when we’re not responding at all or we keep saying, “Yep, we’ll bring it tomorrow,” and failing to do so. I feel like the business manager couldn’t handle it himself and went whining to the priest, when all this whole thing needed was a simple, “Hey, you still owe us.” That’s a whole bitchy e-mail chain avoided right there.

As for what the priest actually said, I take issue with that, starting with the implication that I’m intentionally not paying them or dragging this thing out for, what my health? Entertainment? What, like all I do is sit around at home thinking, “Huh, how long can I drag this out?” I feel like I was being spoken to like a child, like I was being reprimanded, and on top of that, like the priority is money. We owed them. I get that. They have expenses to cover, and the diocese is evaluating which churches to close over the next year or so. But it comes off a certain way when your e-mail reads like a Catholic version of, “Bitch better have my money.” Frankly, with his word choice, it felt like he was attacking my character and had zero compassion or understand regarding, you know, life.

So I sat and stewed over it at work–it came in about quarter ’till 11, I was stuck there until 5, got home at 5:30, and that whole time, I was fucking pissed. I felt like he took a tone with me because he’s a priest and he thinks he can. Terra thinks he didn’t think I’d respond. My sister-in-law Emily thinks if he’d been communicating with Paul, he wouldn’t have used that tone at all.

So with the help of my mom, I crafted a reply. I mostly used her as a proofreader and Bitch Editor–you know, someone to look at it and say, “This sounds good, this is too much, use this word and not that one.” And the basic gist of that was just about what I said here, just more concisely and worded very directly and concisely. I apologized for the delay but said I hoped he understood that it’s a busy time and we lost track of some things–he clearly didn’t, or else he wouldn’t have sent that e-mail, but hey, I figure he deserves his own smidge of passive-aggressive condescension. I went on to say that despite this, the tone of his e-mail was disrespectful, condescending, unacceptable and uncalled for, that it was particularly disappointing coming from a priest and going to a parishioner, that it made it seem like all he cared about was the money, that I didn’t appreciate his unwarranted criticism based on how he interpreted the situation, that the business manager should have communicated with me directly rather than involve him, that I felt it was blown out of proportion over a relatively small amount of money.

There was a time when I never would’ve sent that e-mail and would’ve let it go–deleted it, sent the check, felt shitty, and moved on, but man, fuck that. I’m not gonna let a priest be an asshole to me about 150 bucks. Sure, I’m dreading getting a reply and I freak out a little every time my Gmail pings and I’m having worst-case-scenario imaginings of him making his sermon about me, but shit, I’d rather make it clear that I won’t be spoken to like that than just take it. I mean…really? Of all the ways you could’ve said we owed you money, that was what you chose?

I need to call my shrink, but that could be weird because he goes to that church. Whatever.

Going back to the week before the wedding, it started off fine, then got increasingly hectic.

I went to work that Monday and Tuesday and threw in what errands I could in the evening, like picking up our marriage license. And with my days off, I did a lot of the same, plus some baking to add to the cookie table. I took off from Wednesday on and Paul started his long weekend on Thursday, so we used that day to take recycling into Pittsburgh and have a nice, calm lunch at the Cheesecake Factory before we got too busy for the rest of the week, and that didn’t take long–buying alcohol and mixers took up a large chunk of our evening, on top of having to return phone calls to the church wedding planner and get final details to the photographer and florists and all that fun, last-minute stuff.

Our apartment was a disaster. I mean, it kind of is normally, but we’re already limited on space as it is and didn’t want to leave hundreds of dollars worth of alcohol and mixers in the car overnight, so we hauled everything up and let it sit in the living and dining rooms just to be hauled back down again the next morning to take it to the reception venue. In the end, we carried shit up and down every day except Saturday for something like four days in a row, between buying it, taking it it home, taking it to the venue, bringing back the leftovers, and returning those unopened leftovers.

After everything was ready to go in the venue, I got suckered into buying a guest book. I’d been looking at some of the neat alternatives online but ultimately decided not to get one at all, because I figure it’s just gonna sit in a box for the rest of our lives and we’ll never look at it again. At some point, I got pretty practical with wedding planning and did my best to avoid getting anything we’d be stuck with afterwards, and a guest book fell into that category for me. People bring gifts and cards, and to me, some other record of who was there is pretty much useless. Paul told his mom this one night when she asked, and initially, she thought when he said I didn’t want to spend the money that we meant we were pinching pennies and offered to buy one, so he explained that no, it’s gonna sit in a box for the rest of lives–which, by the way, every time I told another married couple this, they all said, “Yeah, I’ve never look at our guest book.” So there ya go.

Paul’s dad had cookies to take to the botanic gardens on his way to/from picking up Jacob and Katie from the airport, which actually worked out perfectly since it’s nearby, so with them and Josh in tow, we all met up to drop things off. When we were done, he encouraged us to get a guest book, saying their mom was really pushing for it, and I did learn later from one of Paul’s sisters that she was pretty aghast that we didn’t want one. The logic was mostly that the older relatives would be looking for one and therefore we must have it, but I was (and still am) of the opinion that just because people expected it didn’t mean it needed to be there. And I really, really stood my ground, saying no to all the arguments, but in the end, Paul won, and his own argument was admittedly hard to argue–even though he was on my side in terms of it being unnecessary, it would shut her up and keep her happy, and it was a pretty easy, small, and simple compromise to make. The fact that we were on the tail end of wedding season helped, as Hobby Lobby’s wedding stuff was all 50% off.

From there, it was rehearsal.

Friday 5: Sign of the Times

Saturday 9: Sign of the Times (2017)
… because Cat recommended Harry Styles
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Harry sings, “We don’t talk enough, we should open up before it’s all too much.” When you have something serious on your mind, who do you share it with? My husband first, then my best friend. Sometimes the order is flip-flopped depending on the issue.

2) As a kid, Harry wanted to be a lawyer because he can see “both sides.” Are you good at seeing both sides of an argument? Generally, yes–I can usually understand someone’s perspective, even if I disagree with it, especially on a very basic level.

3) He can’t decide which is favorite color — orange or blue. Help Harry out: which of those colors do you prefer? Blue, by far.

4) Harry says he prefers older women, but would never go out with someone older than his mother. Do you think age disparity matters in romance? For the most part, no–I think maturity is the more important factor, as well as general compatibility. That said, I am suspicious of huge age gaps, particularly middle-aged men who pursue women in their early 20s. I question their intentions and what it is they really want.

5) He admits to a big crush on Adele, who is six years older than he is. Who are you crushing on right now? (It doesn’t have to be a celebrity.) My husband, I guess, because there’s really no one else! Not even a significant celebrity crush right now. Although I was recently talking about how much I love Viggo Mortensen.

6) It makes Harry’s skin crawl when he sees people use their teeth to open bottles. What creeps you out? Sort of similar, but not quite–teeth being knocked out or pulled. Spiders. Slenderman. The possibility of demonic possession and alien abduction.

7) When he’s on the road, his go-to food is tacos. Do you like Mexican food? I do!

8) Harry has never smoked. Have you ever been a smoker? If you quit, how did you successfully kick the habit? Not really. I had a few cigarettes at parties in college, and that was about it.

9) Random Question: As she pulls out of her parking space, an elderly woman in an old car scrapes an expensive car. Then she drives away. You witness the whole thing. Do you make a note of her license plate and leave it for the owner of the expensive car? Or do you just mind your own business? I probably do leave an note for the owner, because I don’t care who you are, hitting someone’s car then leaving is a dick move, and it’s a real pain to come and find damage to your car you know you didn’t cause. I’ve had it happen twice.

Friday 5: Consumption

  1. What is your paper towel consumption like? Kind of rare, actually. We mostly only use them to clean up messes–we use different stuff for actual everyday cleaning.
  2. What condiment do you use most often? Ketchup, by far.
  3. What is your sticky note consumption like? Also rare, more so than paper towels–I almost never use them. I do use them at work more than home, though. They’re great to stick on the edges of your computer monitor to remind you of something.
  4. What’s your coin jar setup? I don’t really have one. Back when the apartment laundry used quarters, before it switched to a prepaid card system, I did keep a jar of quarters on a little ledge in the kitchen, but now I don’t bother. Change stays in my purse, pretty much.
  5. What’s something you’ve purchased recently that was lower in price than usual? We just set up a joint bank account and need checks for it, but for some reason, it’s not letting either of us order them online through the bank. The last time I needed checks, I ordered through a different site to get a better variety, so I had the bright idea to do the same thing, and since I’d ordered from there before, I had e-mails with coupon codes and got that shit for half off.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: 9 to 5

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

1) This song begins with the clacking of a typewriter. Did you ever learn to touch type — beginning with your fingers on “the home row” — or do you hunt and peck? I did learn to type with the home row, but I don’t use it now–it would definitely slow me down. I do just fine without it, and I can even type pretty accurately without looking. I don’t think about it much, but I’m not looking at the keyboard the entire time I type.

2) Much of the video for this song revolves around the office coffee room. Are you enjoying a beverage as you answer these 9 questions? I have a big glass of milk, as I’m digging into leftover wedding cookies (and candy).

3) This week’s artist, Dolly Parton, loves telling the story of how she once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest. What contest or sweepstakes have you entered lately? I entered a lot of wedding-related ones–basically, anything that would get me something for free or would get me money to help pay for it. I won approximately none of them.

4) Dolly is one smart blonde. Early in her career she set up a company so she could retain the publishing rights for all her songs. Two alone — “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You” — made her a multi-millionaire because they have been recorded so many times. Do you have a good head for business? I think I have some good ideas, but I’m just so uninterested in business as a field. I think about business and politics very similarly–some of the people with the best ideas are so disillusioned that they’ll never get into it.

5) Dolly is a crusader for childhood literacy and her organization, Dolly’s Imagination Library, has donated more than 10 million books all over the country. What’s the last book you read? An American Sickness, a book about the American healthcare system that covers a few different issues within it but essentially discusses the very real problems with the business of our healthcare system and proposes a few potential solutions–and some are as simple as paying attention to hospital bills and making sure you’re not being charged for things you never had done. I think everyone in the country should read it to get an idea of how greedy the medical field has become and how so much of our healthcare is driven by money and business rather than the care itself, and I’d even go so far as to say that if everyone read this book to at least get a look at how things work, it might really change the nature of the healthcare debates in this country.

6) This weekend may offer a golden opportunity for napping and sleeping in. Do you snore? I do, but typically only when I’m really tired. I’ve put this together based on when I hear complaints from people that I’ve snored.

7) Labor Day was introduced to celebrate the achievements of the American worker. How many different employers have you had? Technically, a few–although I’m still in the first job I got out of college, I’ve had I believe three or four freelance writing employers, although that might depend on if we’re counting individual websites or their parent companies.

8) Will you be attending a Labor Day picnic or barbecue? I’m getting to this late, but I had no plans prior to Labor Day and nothing came up that weekend. My (new) husband and I went to the mountains for a hike, then went to my parents’ house, where my brother and sister-in-law were swinging by with their new cat after getting her a vet appointment that morning.

9) Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the new school year. When she was a kid, Samantha was crazy for her brand new box of 96 Crayola Crayons. It even had a sharpener in the back! What do you remember about preparing to go back to school? If you’re a parent with school-age kids, are they ready? I remember always going to buy new clothes until we needed uniforms in middle school, but then it just shifted to ordering uniforms that fit. I remember big trips to buy supplies, then sorting through them and packing my backpack. I liked packing my backpack–there’s something I enjoy about packing and unpacking things in general–but not actually going to school. In college, though, I liked looking through the book lists. I also enjoyed school itself more in college.

Saturday 9: I Wish It Would Rain

A week late on account of, uh, my wedding.
Saturday 9: I Wish It Would Rain (1968)
… because Janelle recommended the Temptations

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

1) This week’s song focuses on rain. Ombrophobia — the fear of rain — is fairly common in children. How do you feel about rainy days? I’m indifferent, unless it seems like they’re never-ending. I remember being fed up with rain twice in my life–once not long after my maternal grandfather died I was just really done with the gloomy weather, and then once a few summers ago when it seemed like it just rained constantly and we couldn’t really enjoy the summer.

2) Lead singer David Ruffin always wore corrective lenses. Are you wearing glasses or contact lenses as you answer these questions? Contacts, but awaiting my shipment of new glasses.

3) Those thick-rimmed glasses were David’s trademark. When he custom-ordered a luxury car, he had the image of those glasses painted on the door. Tell us something that makes your vehicle distinctive. The mess inside it.

4) David also had a penchant for mink. Rumor has it that he wore a mink-lined hat and even had that car upholstered in mink. If you could really splurge on anything right now, what would it be? Car? Travel? Clothes? Jewelry? (NO responsible answers allowed.) Is buying a house considering a “responsible answer”? I mean, it’s probably the thing I want most right now, and we have boxes of wedding gifts and various little items left in here. We desperately need the space.

5) He sings that he badly wants to go outside. What are your plans for today? Will you be outdoors very much? So for the Saturday this was posted, I was outdoors, sort of–my wedding reception was half indoor, half outdoor, with dinner outside under a tent and dancing inside a barn with a big door in the middle open between the two. Today, it looks like a pretty gross, possibly rainy day. We’re hoping to go for a walk on a trail, but we’ll see.

6) The Temptations originally called themselves The Elgins because in 1960, Elgin watches were the high-end timepiece of choice. Today, in the age of cellphones and FitBits, wristwatches aren’t that popular anymore. Do you often wear a watch? No.

7) This sad song was inspired by a real-life event. Motown songwriter Rodger Penzabene discovered his wife was cheating on him. Much to his own surprise, he didn’t want to divorce or even separate from her; he just wanted her to love him and only him again. Tell us about a time when you didn’t react as you thought you would. (Your story doesn’t have to be as dramatic as Rodger’s.) I don’t know, honestly. I can think of a couple times where I reacted differently than I would have in the past for a few different reasons, but not necessarily times when I expected different. I think sometimes I’m a little calmer and more polite than I anticipate–I’ll get all riled up about something like my mother-in-law pushing a bridal shower and insist if she asked one more time I was gonna lose it, then not get as mad in the moment as I expected to. I’m not saying I wavered, just that I wasn’t as forceful as I thought or even would like to be sometimes. I’m a wimp.

8) In 1968, when this song was popular, a Pittsburgh McDonald’s sold the first Big Mac (two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickle and onion on a sesame seed bun). Describe your perfect hamburger. I realize this is blasphemous in some circles, but for starters, it would be a veggie burger, but one of the good ones that has a lot of flavor and good texture. If I were to make one, it would be your standard burger with ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, and some cheese, but I think my favorite is Red Robin’s Banzai burger with pineapple and teriyaki sauce. I will eat pineapple on almost anything.

9) Random question: When you catch a cold, do you soldier through it? Or are you a big baby? Somewhere in between–I can tough it out, but I’ve learned the hard way that all that does is make me feel worse and doesn’t do any good. So now when I get a cold, even in the early stages, I’ll call off work to take a day to try to sleep it off, and it almost always works great. Working through it tends to make it worse, taking a day or so to sleep and hydrate knocks it out faster.