Key West & The Wedding

Whew.  It seems almost insane to try and sum everything up into some kind of neat little post.  I had every intention of trying to blog throughout the vacation, but I really didn’t even think of it.  We were really busy with the wedding stuff and then showing my dad and family around, as well as seeing some of the sights ourselves and just enjoying the break.  We won’t get a ‘real’ honeymoon, so that’s as close as it got, haha.

Filling out the paperwork... thrilling, really.

The wedding itself was pretty amazing, even if everything that happened beforehand was extremely hectic and taxing.  We arrived at Key West late Sunday afternoon and spent most of the day just trying to unwind from the lengthy car trip.  The following day, Monday the sixth, was the day of the ceremony.  We had until six o’clock to get everything ready.  We got our marriage license pretty early, around ten am.  We ran back real quick, and then around noon, it was time to go pick up my dad and his family (his dad, stepmom, stepgrandma, and his sister) up from the ferry dock.  By the time we got everyone settled, it was time to run and try to get flowers, last-minute.  My mother-in-law and I nearly pulled our hair out trying to find the place, but once we did, we ended up with a great little boquet of white orchids and seagrass.  It was simple and perfect.

We boarded the ferry to take us to Sunset Key around 7:15 so we’d arrive early enough to snap some photos and whatnot beforehand.  Racing with the sunset isn’t fun business.  We had about six or so people with cameras, all snapping photos at once.  We’ve got quite the wide assortment of angles and everything… which is nice, but not so much when we’re all looking at a different camera!

We got a little panicky waiting for the notary to arrive… the sun was setting fast and I was worried we were going to miss our opportunity.  He finally arrived and everything got started.  Of course, I ended up crying through most of it, because I’m a big baby.  I wrote our vows, last minute, while I was sick and tired.  I hadn’t really thought about them.  Well, apparently my subconcious had, because I was a blubbering mess.  We’ve been through a lot, in our friendship and our relationship.  The entire moment, it was just a culmination of so much work and not to sound cliche, but love, too.

Of course, everyone has ten million photos documenting my sobbing mess.  Fantastic.  Thanks, family.  Love you, too.  Chris was trying not to cry the entire time, because when I cry?  So does he.  So it is kind of funny to look back at the pictures and see his uber concentration face, trying so hard to keep it together!  My dad was crying, too.  It’s a domino effect… I cry, the males close to me cry.  I’m not big on crying, thank goodness!

I should probably also mention we sat down and had ‘drinks’ before the ceremony, too, since we arrived so early.  The woman over the place was in a panic, no one had told her there was a wedding until the last minute… so she was falling all over herself trying to make us happy.  I’ve been lower-middle class most of my life, so being treated like a rich high roller was pretty fun!  I’m not big on alcohol, but Chris and I both had drinks.  I only drank half of mine, but I swear they made it stronger than usual.  It was just a strawberry daquiri!  Needless to say, I had some issues not falling in the sand, which was pretty hilarious.  I’m also blaming my crying on that.  Yep.

After the ceremony, we all went back to the beachfront restaurant and lovely table where we had drinks to have dinner.  My father-in-law arranged everything and it was beyond anything Chris or I could have imagined.  It was fantastic.  I will be forever grateful, truly.  We also had a ton of party crashers.  People staying on the island stopped and watched while sitting in beach chairs.  We had a party boat filled with drunk people pass by right after we exchanged our vows and the DJ jumped on the loudspeaker to congratulate us, followed by a bunch of drunken woo’s.  We had a few boat watchers, actually.  Which is just too funny!

We were definitely all exhausted by the time everything was said and done!  We didn’t get off Sunset Key until around eleven pm.  We were the last ones to leave the restaurant, ha!  Against our protests, my in-laws decided to get us a room separate from everyone to keep up appearances.  So Chris and I stayed at the Double Tree Resort while everyone else went back to their condos and respective rooms.  For just wanting a simple and fast wedding, I’m extremely pleased, even if it was so much more and bigger than I could have ever anticipated.  I’m just sad my true grandparents couldn’t be there.  I know Chris feels the same.  Both sets of our maternal grandparents are the ones who are a big deal for us and neither set could make it due to their health.

The rest of the week was a lot more low-key.  The next morning we met up with my dad’s side of the family and went on a tour around the island, which was a lot of fun.  It was extremely hot, though, apparently the hottest day of the year down there.  It was only fitting, since we got lucky and were married during the full moon… which is pretty cool!  We saw all kinds of sights through Tuesday and Thursday, including the Butterfly place where everything flies free and the Hemingway house filled with cats.  Chris has been going down there for over  decade, but everything is still new and exciting for me!  My dad definitely had a blast.  I hated to see him and his family leave late Wednesday.

I love my dad.  I was so glad he was there.

The rest of the vacation was spent just relaxing and enjoying everything we could.  We went on a Ghost Tour, but that was extremely disappointing.  We spent a day at the Dolphin Research Center, though, and both Chris and I got to play with dolphins!  It was awesome.  I love dolphins.  Next time, I want to actually swim with one.  I could spend days there.  It was so much fun.

We spent a lot of money, though.  A little more than we had anticipated.  Chris has a lot saved up, but still.  I mean, it was a one-time thing and it was our only chance to really have somewhat of a ‘honeymoon’… but I’m a real stickler about money and so is Chris.  We’ve got a lot coming up in the next few months.  We got a lot of money gifts from family so that helps at least.

Chris and I did a lot of stuff on our own and it was definitely awesome to have a condo all to ourself.  There’s a ton of stuff I’m not mentioning, but this is a long post and I mostly just wanted to get as much typed as I could while it was still fresh in my mind.  There’s tons of wedding stuff I left out, but I doubt I’ll forget any of that anytime soon!  It was a great time, we hated to leave.  I’m still not used to the whole ‘married’ thing.  I can’t imagine changing my name, that’s going to be weird and complicated.

It will also mean I’m no longer a resident of Pennsylvania.  Losing my name and my state?  Big stuff.

But definitely worth it.

Next Time, I Promise We’ll Be Perfect

Things have been getting increasingly hectic around here… last Saturday (13th) we went to the Relay that my mother-in-law was in charge of for this area.  She has several others, but this is the biggest one.  It went really well, I took many pictures, but unfortunately?  I had the camera on the wrong setting, so they all came out like crap.  Sigh.  I also realized that my fiance has been in remission from leukemia (he was two when it all began) as long as I’ve been alive, pretty much.  He’s a twenty-three year survivor and I just happen to also be twenty-three!  Go figure.

Thursday and Friday were mostly spent at the ACS office with my mother-in-law.  We bounced between the office, collecting money, getting my dress altered (and fiance’s pants tailored), and trying to pick up the last-minute necessities.  Fiance and I went to Victoria’s Secret yesterday to pick up a sticky bra only to see they were out of my size.  We have to check back sometime this week.   Ordering it online and getting it here in time would cost us $20 worth of shipping — no thanks!  I was also crushed to find my desired wedding night attire was nearly $90… I wish they’d point out when things are “100% silk”.  Gah.

Also, because a certain someone (read: fiance) made me wait, I can no longer get my desired hair pieces.  They were the beautiful silk flowers.  I have no idea what to get now.  I haven’t really liked anything and I’ve looked for replacements for awhile… sigh.  Then, to top it off, he broke my $70 Wacom Tablet pen.  The expenses are just racking up and I am feeling extremely overwhelmed by it all.  The sticky bra itself is a necessity, due to the fact I seem to have, um, ‘grown’ since the purchasing of the dress over a year ago.  So, yeah, I need a backless bra to wear it.  Unfortunately, the bra is also$70… so no tablet pen for me anytime soon.  It’s just a good damn thing I got the dress a size too big to begin with or else we’d really be in trouble.

We still don’t have someone to marry us, which is a big problem.  I really, really would prefer someone from an actual church as opposed to a notary.  A preacher/pastor/whatever his church calls them from my fiance’s old church is looking for us, trying to find someone down there we can afford.  We had one in mind, but apparently, he doesn’t marry “tourists”.  My fiance’s family has been going down there for twelve years.  They own properties.  We are not a part of the rich people machine ruining your island.  How incredibly rude.

I also finally got my hair professionally colored.  It isn’t the perfect color I had somehow managed to achieve with a random selection of Walmart color… but it’s good enough and it looks natural.  Fiance got his hair cut, but he should’ve have scheduled for highlights, too.  These pictures are forever, damn it!

I guess I should also mention that the cats have been extremely upset that I wasn’t with them all day Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.  Fiance got home before us on Friday and told me Loki was crawling all over him, meowing.  Poor baby.

The kitten is getting increasingly bigger!  It’s really shocking… he’s growing so quickly.  He used to fit under my neck, now he pulls a Loki and sprawls out over my chest.

Loki gets along better with the kitten now that he knows it won’t replace him.  He still gets a bit too rough when they play, but as the kitten grows, it’ll become less of an issue.  It’s definitely a lot better than when we first found the poor, starving little bugger!

My fiance is in love with the fact that our camera takes video, so he captured their initial meeting with it.

He also has fun recording them while they play.  Loki likes sniffing the camera, but Puff?  He attacks it!  Which is hilarious.

It’s hard to believe we only have one weekend left before we go to Key West… and next weekend, the in-laws will be gone on some trip my father-in-law has to take for his job.  I just hope I can get everything done in time.

Hello, Goodbye, You Know You Made Us Cry

I’m sitting here listening to old Smashing Pumpkins CDs while I peruse the internet, vacant of any real desire to get the things that need to be done actually done.  The fiance says their music is depressing and he can’t listen to it.  I disagree.  It’s always been something we’ve fought over, hilariously enough.  My devotion to this band stems from an adolescence of being raised on it.  It’s hilarious that any time I hear a single song from the Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, I can instantly recall the days spent idling around on EverQuest.  I actually burned through both CDs because they played on an almost constant loop while I played.

It’s funny how you can completely revisit a time lost by just hearing a song or smelling something familiar.  Anyway, listening to Smashing Pumpkins actually does the opposite of what my fiance claims… it makes me feel quixotic and thoughtful.  It’s a huge inspiration for my creativity.  Listening to the Adore album at the moment… I can just feel the slightest ebb of creativity, stifled and smothered by current real life demands.  It sucks, but that’s the way it is, apparently.

Aside from that, I spend most time surrounded by cats.  No, seriously, surrounded by cats.  It’s almost as if they can feel something is wrong and think that if they lay around me in a prison of fur and purr loud enough, it will go away.  If only.  It reminds me of the times I spent crying into Nikita’s fur, listening to her purr wildly, trying to muffle out the loud noises and violence filtering through the door.  These cats surrounding me just make me miss her so damn much.  I hate that I can’t have her, that the time for her to constantly be there, annoying me and wanting on my lap all the time are gone, flexing her claws into my leg, mrowing loudly in the middle of the night because she hears a cricket.  Thirteen years with her and I’ve abandoned her.  I can’t take her, she’s too old and we will be moving a lot.  She’s very neurotic and does not like change.  It would kill her.

I don’t have many pictures of her left online and the ones I have of her are physical pictures I can’t scan… but I still remember taking this one.  She was playing with a string.  I think I was sixteen or so.

I just want her to be healthy and happy… it seems she is.  When Puff (the new kitten we’ve acquired and I’ve taken to calling Puffin) sleeps on my head, all I can think of is when Nikita would do that, or sleep around my neck.  I remember the first few nights with her were hell.  She was up all night, restless, confused, still very scared of people except me.  I fell asleep watching that old show from the 80s, with the professor who did science experiments with kids of public access television.  She was purring and sleeping around my head.

My fiance already lost his cat, it happened about two years ago.  He still cries if you talk about Tigger, he had him since he was diagnosed, almost.  Hard thing to lose, especially hard to watch someone you love be so completely torn apart.  I’m used to losing animals, I’m prepared to lose her, but I hate that I will miss these last few years with her.  Without her, I don’t know if I’d still be around.  She my best friend through the worst part of my life.

Fiance and I have pretty much decided we’re taking Loki with us when we leave.  He’s too attached to me and I am fond of him, too, even if I’m not used to male animals at all.  I’m almost loathe to get him fixed, though.  I think it will steal a part of his personality away, even if I get mad when he randomly decides to be a snit and bat at me with his claws.  Puffin is already way too attached to me.  I’m here all day, everyone else is gone.  The animals love me.

I know a lot of people begrudge having animals because they can’t deal with the loss, but I can’t imagine my life without them.  Nikita helped me through so much by just being there, by simply existing.  I’ve had pets all my life and each pet has meant something special to me.  I remember losing my first, true pet, Izzy the hamster.  I cried for weeks.  I was heartbroken.  I came home from kindergarten and he was gone, dead.  It doesn’t get less painful as you go on, you just learn that it is life and death is inevitable for everyone and everything.  Life isn’t about fearing death, it’s about enjoying what you have and spending all the time you can to ensure that when the time comes, you have no regrets.  A part of me will probably die when Nikita does, but I also know that a major part of me is alive because of her and will continue to be even after she’s gone.

I just wish it were easier to communicate these things to animals, but maybe that’s what makes it what it is.  That lack of communication and the simple, base understanding that comes not from language, but from life, and sharing a part of it with something else.

I love my cat, I will always love my cat… but I know that I will love others, too.  It doesn’t lessen the love I feel for her, it builds onto it.  Nothing will replace her and I don’t want anything to.

Fiance doesn’t understand the way I think or deal with death, but we’re very different.  Somehow, we’ve both faced it from a very young age, just in different ways.  He nearly died, and I’ve watched the people around me die all my life.  It’s strange how it shapes you.

Under Pressure

I’m being a huge, beyond belief dick to everyone and I know I need to stop.  I just need to step back, close my eyes, and breathe deeply.  I want to just completely disconnect and cut all ties, but that’s an impulsive urge and I know I’d come to regret it.  I’ve gotten a lot better about pulling that shit.  I just need to set my jaw and wade through it.  I just feel like I’m drowning.  I feel so completely overwhelmed and stressed… even the smallest things just set me off.  I either want to rage or I want to break down and cry.  I’m not big on crying, period.  So this does not go over well with my psyche.

I’ve tried talking to the fiance about it, to maybe try to exercise away the things that are annoying me and maybe causing me a bit too much duress, but he doesn’t get it.  To him, it shouldn’t be this complicated… but to me, it is.  And it causes me all kinds of crazy stress.  I just don’t even know if it’s worth it anymore.

My dad’s travel arrangements are all made.  I did that this morning.  I called my rich, estranged grandfather and invited him to my wedding.  He made some vague mention about how he hasn’t been the most “involved” grandfather but I’ve always been in his prayers.  Which my jaded, terrible self calls bullshit on and just makes me even more moody.  I just don’t even know anymore.  I’m going through terrible mood swings.  One moment I’m excited, the next I just, I don’t know.  I feel depressed.  I don’t like these seemingly manic changes.  I’ve always been a bit off-kilter, but it’s becoming more erratic and unpredictable.  Reigning in the crazy isn’t as easy as it used to be.

I know I have issues, plenty of them.  I have tons of demons and skeletons buried in my closet.  Who doesn’t?  I have compulsions, rituals, things that need to be a certain way for me to function.  I just can’t seem to get a handle on any of it anymore.  I feel like those insane people who get hauled off to the seventh floor.  I don’t feel like I belong there, but I just feel so out of control.  It’s bringing out my compulsions and things worse, because it’s all fueled by control issues.  I’m a control-freak.  I plan, I make lists, itineries, schedules… which makes no sense, because I’m also impulsive.  I am a ridiculous contradiction and I confuse people regularly, especially my fiance.

Sometimes, it’s like talking to a wall.  I love him, but I don’t think he’ll ever truly understand me.  I don’t think we’ll ever completely have that bond, where I can run to him and spout off and everything can be perfect again.  He just looks at me like I’m nuts and I can’t bear it.

We’re meeting with a Church of Christ pastor/preacher whatever they call them tomorrow, hopefully, and we’ll have that all set and done.  Last, but not least, alterations.  I just don’t know what I’m doing.  I’m afraid I’m too crazy.  I’m afraid I’m just like everyone else in my family and completely inept and doomed to fail, at everything; bound to mess something up beyond repair, mess someone else up by bringing them down with my insanity.

I’ve gotten better, but you can’t fix genetics, can you?  I’ve had twenty-two years of being raised to be crazy, of being surrounded by it, of being forced to embrace it, having others bring it out even more with their ignorance and hypocrisy.  It sucks.  I’ve only been gone a little over a year.  Gonna need a damn long time to completely reprogram myself, if I even can.

I should be sleeping right now, but I’ve even fallen backwards into a very old habit — insomnia.  I lie down and my mind just goes.  I get worked up, anxious, irritable, insane.  I can’t sleep, I can’t coax myself to sleep.  My old, tried and true method no longer works, my mind running miles a minute, calculating, postulating all these insane variables that don’t truly matter, but my compulsions are returning tenfold… like a tidal wave and I’m drowning in them.

I know I need help, but I seriously don’t know where to look.  All I really have now is my fiance and he just can’t understand.  I keep hoping it’ll go away, that it’s just pre-wedding jitters, etc… but it’s so much more.  It’s a complete undoing of all the progress I’ve made and I don’t know why it’s happening.  I just feel like I’m being torn apart at the seams.

Vacuum Sealed

Shit.  It’s the end of May already?  When the hell did that happen?  I’m getting married in a month, pretty much.  Panicked?  Not I.  I’ve got nerves of steel.  Nevermind the fact that my dress still needs taken in and my fiance’s suit pants need fixed.  They’re far too long, but the suit?  Is fantastic.  We found a designer Italian white linen suit that was originally priced at $1,200 for like, $150.  I freaking love Amazon.  The suit is amazing, moreso than my dress.  So not fair.  I want to wear it!

I’m technically unemployed now and have been for about two weeks.  I miss my fellow employees, but this sedentary, reclusive lifestyle suits me.  I am working mostly for my father-in-law now, picking up his trophy slack while he peddles for Edward Jones… which he is ridiculously good at, by the way.  He started in like, March (same time as fiance!) and he’s already handling almost a million dollars in accounts.  Go FIL!  Anyway, the trophies keep me insanely busy amongst the wheedling of my mother-in-law to PLEASE call her mother-in-law and get this dress/suit alteration stuff aligned.  Which is difficult, because mother-in-law is in charge of only five relays this season.  She’s done three, two left to go.  Woo!  I’ve also been helping her because she’s overworked and her secretary fails at life.

So, yeah.  Plus messing with The Sims 3, which while is fun… is not the NEXT BIG THING.  Disappointing, but meh, whatever.

I haven’t had a real conversation with my mother since March, and that was when I visited and even then, it wasn’t a real conversation aside from screaming and yelling.  Anytime she calls, she yells and screams.  I’ve stopped calling or trying to call.  Dad moved into his new bachelor pad on Friday.  My grandma is on oxygen and my cousin’s little baby is growing by the day.  It’s weird.  Time is just… moving.  And everything is changing.  It seems like since I’ve left, everything I’ve known is disappearing.  The house next door to mine burnt to the ground.  It was there before I was born.  I’m afraid to see what it looks like now, without it there.  Buildings keep getting torn down.  My home is completely changed and possibly about to be sold.  Who knows how long my grandparents will remain in their house.

Too much change all at once.  Head is muddled.  I’m getting married?  God, I can’t believe.  I seriously never thought I’d get married, ever.  And now I am.  And it’s a little terrifying.  I love my fiance with all my heart, but wow.  Am I ready to be an adult?  I still keep wanting to disconnect and run off into imaginationland.  Where everything is fine and happy and okay.

Or at least, my kind of okay.  Which is actually pretty twisted.

It’s late.  I can’t sleep.  I think I have a cavity.