I can blame the discovery of this little gem on Melby:
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In cleaning off my computer, I ran across this picture of some homeless guy and I figured I'd share it with you:
I'd give him whatever change I had in my pocket. Ninjas are scary.
I'm cleaning my computer off to initiate a reformat. In so doing, I stumbled across a list of Rachel-isms. Some are inappropriate, and are thusly beneath the fold. They're only rated PG-13 or so... but I don't want to upset Wilson or alienate my 7-year-old demographic.
"And then God blessed me and made me throw away my clothes"
-Paige and Rachel
"I listened to Plum, she listened to Cranberries, and we had a fruity time!"
Cynic: "A gigolo is a man whore."
Rachel: "Yeah, I should know... you shouldn't."
Uncle Doug: "Jared... what is she turning you into?"
Rachel: "What? You think I PAY him?!"
You only wish you were cool enough for the this high-end keyboard. All I have to say is that only a desperate nerd pays $80 for a keyboard whose best feature is that it has no letters on it. Oh, and the key feedback is specially engineered... nice, but not worth $80.
What happens when you fill fluorescent light tubes with gasoline and power them? In the short term, you get something very reminiscent of an actual light-saber in terms of the glow. In the longer-term, they explode.
How do I know this? A pair of uber-nerds in Britain found this out for us by experimentation.
So, Anna and I are back in Longview after putting roughly 3300 miles on the car in our various honeymooning travels. The stuff we need is mostly in our temporary home, we have gone to dinner with Wheeler and Rachel, we have put more stuff up in storage, we have opened the wedding presents received at the actual wedding (that we hadn't had time to open before now), and life is generally good.
Tomorrow Anna has interviews with Garland ISD in Dallas, and I get to sleep in. Life shall be wonderful.
Until later... we are now in apartment 3B and we both have our cell phones with us. You should stop by or give a call (email us or IM us if you lack our cell numbers, I really don't want to post them.) Anyways... enjoy yourself as I am enjoying myself.
As some of you may notice, I am happily going along and retro-posting to inform the world of everything that happened on the honeymoon in North Carolina. There's still a whole lot to type up and post, but I figured it would make a pretty good record for posterity and make for entertaining reading.
As for right now, I am camped out in Cincinnati at my mom's house until we roll back down to Longview. I will catch people on IM as I am able.
After having such a wonderful dinner the night before, Anna and I decided that we would go and find a nice dinner to finish the day off with. First, we decided that we ought to make some half-hearted attempts at finishing off the bit of food that we'd bought for the week and hadn't yet consumed. Thus, I made a big breakfast, complete with scrambled eggs with lots of stuff in them, fried bacon and some wonderful biscuits that Anna actually made. Here we should note that Anna improvised said biscuits out of pancake mix and water... no knowledge of proportions nor any directions. They were good.
After breakfast, we ran around town taking pictures for posterity. We also stopped in at a quaint little local bookstore. It really didn't end up being the sort of place that one would want to visit very often... sort of a knick-knack shop combined with a sad attempt at a mall bookstore. It had the occasional book that you would want and a whole lot that I suppose someone wants... but it seemed to try to provide variety with a very limited quantity to a somewhat lackluster effect. Ah well, the cards were rather entertaining in any event and if it would have been a bit closer to Moore's birthday, we would have picked up this nifty card that we found for him.
Anna cooked up a wonderful assortment of left-overs in a unique spaghetti casserole for lunch. I also was treated to green beans with bacon and onions: a culinary creation of whose existence I was not aware. All in all, Anna has been doing some outstanding cooking
This afternoon we bummed around and took a nice long walk to the pier. We then paid a frikking dollar each just to walk on the local pier. It was a nice pier... but not so nice that I should be paying a dollar to walk on it. For a dollar, they should have had a midget out there doing tricks or someone there to give me a foot massage or complementary martinis (or at least cokes.) Bunch of tourist-baiting malcontents... %&%^&@#
Anyways, the weather was wonderful, the view was marvelous, and we are very happy with our stay. At this point, all that we have left is a bit of cleaning and packing... but first we shall go hunt down a meal. We keep trying to go to this little place called the Indigo Marsh Chophouse, and if that fails, we shall go revisit Skulley's.
Dinner was quite the experience to say the least. The ideal plans, as we set them out, involved going to the local laundromat, doing a couple of loads of laundry, and then coming back to finish off some left-overs for dinner.
Reality was, as ever, far more interesting. Our journey began when we realized that the local laundromat closed at 6 PM. This precipitated a search all over the island which culminated in the conclusion that there was no laundromat available on the island to people who wanted to do laundry after 6 PM who didn't live in the local trailer park. And thus, we expanded our search to the nearby town of Hampstead. After searching that town in vain, we stopped in at a local gas station where a goodly clerk did some phone work for Anna to find an open laundromat. Turns out we had two options: the close option that would close about 30 minutes after we got there, and the Wilmington option.
Going back through my posts, I find myself shocked that I have failed to express my disdain for Wilmington, NC. The place appears nice when approached from the west, but one is quickly confronted by the fact that the stupid city lacks any efficient way of getting through it. Every single fricking route is plagued by narrow roads, a plethora of stop-lights, poorly-engineered intersections, too many commercial venues, and bad signage. In short, the city is a standing monument to urban and suburban sprawl in all of its nasty glory. To add insult to injury, I quote the local tour guide that this to say about local drivers, as it lists tips in dealing with local traffic:
Red-light runners. Local drivers are bad about this. To protect yourself, look twice before going on green to be sure some knucklehead isn't trying to race through on yellow.
Turn-signal phobia. For some reason, many Wilmington drivers don't seem to do with those levers on their steering columns. Keep that in mind, and keep the rest of us in mind too: Please use your turn signals when changing lanes, and especially before making left-hand turns.
Anyways, by virtue of this explanation, it should be becoming clear to you that Wilmington is death to get through, and so it was. Thus, I was reluctant (to say the least) to return there for my laundry needs... but we had no choice.
You see, as a result of a bit of poor planning on our part, we had put the wet towels in with the sheets. Thus, it was either wet sheets or laundry in Wilmington. We chose the latter, and after leaving the condo around 6 PM, we found an open laundromat around 7:30. After negotiating the stupid washing machines, I sent Anna to go find food whilst I reveled in the fact that we seemed to have found Wilmington's equivalent of South Longview. Fortunately, I owed my best friend Tim a phone call, so I passed away the time discussing the finer points of our plans to see Star Wars on opening night (yes, I know, but I can't help it... I need to see the last one, and I'm praying... nevermind, you know what we're all hoping for.) Anna was back before I knew it with a disgusted look on her face and a McDonalds' bag in her hands (Anna hates the golden arches, so I knew things had to be bad.)
"It was the easiest place to get to and this area is really ghetto" was the first thing out of her mouth. I was fine... I've never really minded McDonalds', but she continued. "There was a homeless man who walked in and tried to bum food off of people." You are now wondering why I hadn't already left this area, and believe me, I wanted to. But now my laundry was almost done washing and I wanted to dry it before I left this horrific little grotto. But anyways, it was at about this time that I noted something else that was very unusual about this laundromat: it had a ratio worse than LU. So now we have the laundromat of down-on-their-luck ghetto-dwelling men? Wonderful. Just wonderful.
Anyways, we got out of there without any real incidents... and Anna even managed to talk me out of burning the whole city down. Let this be a lesson to you: stay out of Wilmington.
So yeah... I'm now married. I'll swear on my blog for the second time since the sc.org move-over... damn. It's strange being married, but a very good kind of strange. I highly recommend it to those of you considering vows of celibacy and the like.
I wouldn't have been married without a wedding, and that wedding wouldn't have happened at all without such excellent friends as we have. Anna and I would like to extend thanks to everyone who made it ("thanks times 1000"), everyone who helped out, everyone who sent wishes, and everyone who prayed for us. We felt it, and the wedding wouldn't have happened without all of that... much less have been the spectacular success that it was. My only regret is that we didn't manage to beat the rector into allowing us a receiving line to meet so many of you who couldn't stay for the reception, or couldn't stay long enough for us to make it around. ( :-( )
Bless you all for all of your prayers, support and well-wishing.
Oh yeah... and some of you have been griping about not being let in on our plans and whereabouts. We left the wedding, hit up a car wash (the one at Marshall and H.G. Mosely) which cleaned EVERYTHING off, and then we ran off to Jefferson... and here's where we'll stop being so detailed... (Anna sticks her tongue out at you... all of you)
... our tale continues the following... er... afternoon... with a hurried return to Longview to deal with some niggling details and then a return back to Jefferson. Jefferson hotel rocks... and the honeymoon suite is quite nice... ("mmm.... king-sized bed")
This morning we departed early, had breakfast in Jefferson at The Bakery (actual name) which was very good. We then drove to Atlanta, making intermittent stops for food, Drink (mmm... ;-D), and gas. We are now in Atlanta... soon to be departing for Topsail Beach in North Carolina. We'll be there for the next week... and maybe we'll find somewhere to post from. If not... well... we'll post sooner or later.
-Mr. and Mrs. (edit) Cynic
After a wonderful breakfast at the Jefferson Bakery (just "The Bakery" in Jefferson), we drove to Atlanta. Turns out, we probably should have at least driven to the other side of Atlanta, but thems are the breaks. We posted, we ate, we found a decent motel.
The only real interesting notes from this day are that it was a long drive, especially being as tired as we were. An important note to those of you who aren't yet married but may become so: driving a long way to your honeymoon destination may not be the best idea in the world... but it's negotiable as long as you get a good bit of sleep each night. This may be a problem for some of you who have always slept alone and haven't had a new and beautiful wife next to you. It's very hard to sleep the whole night through as your body adjusts to having another warm body nearby, and when you wake up, it's especially hard not to just play with your wife's hair and muse that you're really married, which in turn wakes her up... and as a result neither of you gets much sleep.
You see... when you skip town without having spent a lot of time on getting out the days previous, there are usually some niggling details. In our case, we had to deposit some checks (after photo-copying them to remember to send thank-yous), pick up a replacement blinker light (which turned out not to be broken), drop stuff off at the storage unit, and pick up some last stuff from the apartment to drop in storage. I would like to stop and thank all of the guys in my apartment for dealing with my stuff as ably as they did, and I would especially like to thank Jared for dealing with my tux along with everyone else's and his brother's. After that little foray into Longview, we darted back out to Marshall for dinner at Applebees' and then back up to Jefferson for another relaxing nights' sleep at the Jefferson Hotel.
It was quite a nice day, and a necessary break.
I really had planned not to get up until around noon and to head up to the hotel to get dressed and ready to go at that point. However, I think the stress of the day caused me to wake up in a cold sweat from some dream around 9 am, and after that point I couldn't calm my nerves enough to get back to sleep.
So it was that Gallagher and Wilson were also vaguely awake, and I conferred with them and we decided that we could join mom for breakfast at IHOP. I called and told Geoff to pass that along, and then Wilson took the traditional 30 minute shower of his, and so we revised our schedule a bit and departed at 10, which ended up being about the same as the rest of the family. I am told that at this point, Anna had been up for a bit doing pictures and whatnot... but this is where we all laugh and note that there are a couple of perks with being the groom. Oh, and I'm assuming that Martinez was asleep as we had no way of reaching him, and we know that Wheeler didn't want to get up that early... so we just dashed off and left them to their own devices.
Sunday breakfast at IHOP is insane on any Sunday. On Mothers' Day, it's even worse. Thusly, there was an interminably long queue that left us standing around outside, us being myself, Gallagher, Wilson, Tim, Jonny, Geoff, Mom, Nana and Christie. At some point, it was realized that I lacked a beard trimmer, and so Geoff went with Christie to go buy one for me while we waited. Apparently, Tim and Jonny were wandering about outside at this point and declined a ride from Geoff. Then, it started drizzling and in a mad dash of valor, the two managed to run over to the van from across the parking lot and jump in to narrowly avoid the torrential downpour that followed. It was very impressive to behold, or so I'm told.
Lest I get bogged down in trivialities, I should note that breakfast was good, and was followed by me heading to the hotel to change and the SC-ers running back to campus to confer and prepare. It should also be noted at this point that a beard as massive as mine is no trivial thing to tame and trim to size. It took roughly 45 minutes and was accompanied by much pain and wailing from the Gremlin as the Great Goat was reduced to the little goatee. A shower and shave followed and it was decided that I should be tuxed at the church rather than risk rain-spotting the tux in the dashes to and from the car.
I arrived at the church in time to meet up with the SC crew, who were just noticing Gallagher's tie dilemma. After getting us all dressed and ready to go, I was abandoned with my hair unfinished so that all of the guys could be photographed. Most of my anxiety can probably be linked to the being left alone. In their absence, I attempted several times to make calls to the hotel where I would be staying that night and was met with complete failure... and this only served to increase my anxiety. Fortunately, at this point my brothers apparently snuck out of the picture-taking extravaganza and came back to entertain me. After this, a couple of anonymous friends returned to confer with me about absconding with the car to a hidden locale, and this at least served to keep my mind off of the coming show.
Shortly after all of that, Lily came back to work on my hair, and then it was time for pictures, pictures and more pictures... followed by a brief respite of pacing. My nerves were a bit better off now that my friends were all around me, but then I decided that they should have to suffer as I had suffered, and as such, I began proclaiming aloud my intent to escape. At this point, my nerves got one last shot as I had to listen to Anna loudly speed-talk from around the corner... attempting to soothe her nerves or something and stress me out in the process. God has apparently built some sort of mechanism into men to make us want to go calm our beloved women down... and it was very aggravating to listen to Anna gibber as though a mental breakdown was imminent and not be able to do a thing about it.
Anyways, after that the show was on. We processed, we stood, we watched processing, I got to hold on to Anna, we stood... vows and stuff... more standing... blessings and sermonizing... more standing... and finally the blessed kneeling followed by taking a seat for communion. I have heard it said that all brides are radiant and all grooms are nervous... and I will definitely agree that the bride was radiant (she was also nervous) and that I was nervous (and probably not radiant.) It should be noted that Dr. Watson's sermon was very good... but my feet hurt and thus I had a hard time focusing.
After we were proclaimed husband and wife, it was out the door and around the corner to wait for more pictures, and it is here that I have my profoundest regret. Namely, we didn't have a receiving line. I missed saying hello and thank-you to a lot of wonderful friends and family because of that one fact and a lot of people had to leave before I made it to them at the reception. After Morgan got the pleasure of bossing the SC around and the dubious pleasure of dealing with my brothers, it was off to the reception for cake and food and punch. First we said our hellos to a lot of wonderful people, then we cut the cake (and we smeared it all over each others' faces), then we tossed the bouquet (to Lily) and the garter (it was originally avoided by all single men, and then picked up by Baba), and then we waited... and waited... and waited. Apparently, Gallagher sold us out to my brothers and they finally got to decorate the car that had been hidden from their sight... and they were very pleased. And then we ran off into the night... but first we had to get the car cleaned.
I highly recommend the new little gas station on the corner of H.G. Mosely and Marshall... it has a nice little car-wash that COMPLETELY removed all remnants of the decorating job and in 4 or 5 minutes flat. Don't worry, we got honked at once or twice before we made it there.
After that, it was off into the night to the Jefferson Hotel and its wonderful king-sized bed, where this account will trail off and leave the reader to his or her own imagination.
Oh... one last thing, the IHOP in Marshall (more or less just off I-20) has a 15% discount for students, 25% discount for service-men with ID, and 50% discount to uniformed cops. Just figured that any hungry college students and military folks in the area might like to know that (I don't think I know any cops... but I know some desperate Q3 guys who might pick up cop uniforms.)
The countdown eclipsed 24 hours yesterday as I was working my butt off to get things ready to go into storage and the 12 hour mark was eclipsed as I lay asleep, building up my strength. So it's now 10 AM and I'm going to be getting married in 5.5 hours. That's not much time... at all.
I'm afraid I won't be able to say hello to half as many people as I should like nor should I be able to enjoy the best party thrown on my behalf to date half as much as I should... but I want to thank all of you in advance and I am sure I will thank you all again after I am done and married.
5.5 hours... (said in a voice filled with awe and wonderment) damn.
Unlike Anna and Ardith who are totally done with their degree plans and already have their nice, shiny diplomas, I still have one more class to take before I will be officially done. Fortunately that class is Introduction to Fine Arts, as taught by Dr. Watson.
But I get ahead of myself...
The morning started out bright and early at 7:30, and I even dressed up in collared shirt, khaki slacks and a tie. I did wear sandals, but that's more or less to be expected, right? I went and fetched Anna and we walked over to Belcher with Ardith, where we got food and our caps and gowns. $75 to drag in some crusty Alaska politician for a PR stunt and to sit there and watch 200 night college students who I don't know get diplomas?!?! But I get ahead of myself again...
After getting dressed up in our regalia, Anna and I met with my dad, her mom and my grandparents to get our pictures taken. More accurately, campus was chaotic and it was all anyone could do to show up at 8:15 and get over to meet us by 8:45, but my dad, Anna's parents and my grandparents made it. That said, after the pictures were done, we ran inside, we got in the group picture, Anna figured out that her tassel was actually an engineering tassel, we got lectured at by admin, I got $5 from some alum who wanted me to donate it back to LU (they can blow me; kiss that $5 goodbye...), and we finally got ready to march outside at 9:45.
After going to last year's graduation, I knew what to expect and it was mostly more of the same. I clapped my frigging hands off for the 100+ traditional undergraduates (most of whom I knew at least by face) and got a diploma cover and a picture with Bud. Then I started out clapping in some sort of good-faith effort for the GAPS students, until my hands got tired. After that, I clapped for Terry Turner, and Ethan and Ken (who both got their MBA's.) Just an aside, MBA's take forever, because a Master's degree comes with a hood, and at LU they put the hood on each and every one of them... and it takes 20-40 seconds per hood. You do the math. I know it's nice to do all of the graduation stuff with the non-traditional students, but the traditional students have busted their butts together... shouldn't we all at least graduate together and not have to deal with LU's cheap budgetary considerations? $75 graduation fee.... grrr....
Anyways, after graduation was finished (my best friend, the best man Tim having arrived from Cincinnati at some point during graduation) we all went over to Solheim to do pictures with Anna's family and my family. Nana was there, as were my brothers and my mother, but I don't think some of Anna's siblings were. Anyways, we did more pictures, Anna and I returned our gowns, we all ran around campus a bit, and then we went over to McWhorter Park (I think) to do lunch with all of the family and friends.
Lunch was good, of the Bodacious BBQ variety. All of my family that made it down was there, Anna's parents, siblings (with families) and her Uncle Jon (my favorite trouble-maker in her family) and Aunt Carolen were there. Anna's parents organized the thing, and were even gracious enough to invite some of our poor, starving college friends. After getting food in all of us and having some revelry and discussion, we spent 20 minutes trying to organize logistics. This little personification of hell was characterized by my hard-headed middle brother in one camp, my father in another camp, my ambivalent grandparents, Anna's stressed-out mother, and a whole lot of interested bystanding parties organizing into various circles and Anna and I running around between them as each attempted to dictate some subplot of the plans. Guh...
Anyways, after lots of chaos, Anna and I managed to figure out that she should go back to campus with her Uncle and Aunt to finish cleaning and packing, Dad should go with Anna's mom to do flowers, Anna's dad should go with Kirk and Eric to drop off food and then come get tuxed, and Mom, Nana, my brothers, Tim, Christie (Geoff's girlfriend) and I should go immediately to get tuxed (meeting up with others at some point in the tuxing process.) I think everyone else went to relax in hotels, but honestly, I was so busy thinking of details directly related to wedding stuff, that I couldn't tell you. Oh yeah... and the crew went to go crash the Hoyt party at some point in there...
The tuxing process went well and virtually without a hitch on our end (though it would appear that Gallagher's tuxing from the day before had unrecognized issues, but we didn't find out about that until later.) It turns out that due to his experience in the high school orchestra and wearing a tux to every concert, my youngest brother has become an expert in the art of tuxes... or at least enough so that between his experience and my one other experience in wearing a tux at Toad's wedding, we were able to help all interested parties into their tuxes. About half-way through, Anna's brothers and father showed up along with Amanda (Eric's wife) and they tried on tuxes while Amanda joined the tux evaluation crew along with Mom, Nana and Christie as they looked over each of the guys as they came out to show off tuxes. Anyways, at this point we all finished up and ran our separate ways with Jonny driving Tim and I down to LU after dropping off Nana, Mom and Christie at the hotel. Jon got to see the denuded Ice Cave and we mostly finished off the process of depopulating the Ice Cave of stuff just in time for Jon, Carolen and I to run things up to storage while Anna finished dealing with apartment checkout with Tim's help.
It should be noted at this point that any decently full day could have ended at this point and be said to have been a very productive day, but our day had not yet begun to fight. After leaving the storage facility, I received a call from Anna informing me that she would probably be late to the wedding rehearsal (along with the best man and a couple of the bridesmaids.) Fortunately, I arrived on time and attempted to pacify all of the involved parties as people kept piling up at the rehearsal. I have to say that there are two unsung heroes of the wedding rehearsal are Christie and Dr. Mrs. Watson. Christie kept my dad out of my hair and in the business of getting the food for the rehearsal dinner, and Dr. Mrs. Watson kept all of the details smoothed out and came up with a lot of good logistical suggestions and helpful tips. Rehearsal ran long (as every rehearsal I've ever attended has) and then there was a little bit of running back and forth, but dinner was finally served around 6:50 or so (only 20 minutes late) to some very hungry people (to whom it seemed closer to an hour and 20 minutes late), myself included.
After the chaos had died down, we found ourselves looking at a couple of details for the Unity Candle left to play with and a reception room to rearrange. Oh yeah, and people to find sleeping places for, groomsmen to relocate, and a little bit of partying to do. Fortunately, all of the cleaning and preparatory nonsense didn't take too very long at the church, but it did start eating into the night-time hours. Between that and the final cleaning back at the apartment (where it was discovered that we could fortunately spend the night), the groomsmen deemed it a bit too late to do anything other than sleep, and so Tim and I made the trek to Applebees' all by ourselves, where Jonny had decided that he would meet us, sans Geoff (who probably wanted to spend time alone with Christie.)
Here, fortune played a hand, and my friend Kevin Baba rolled in from out of town to amuse us all at Applebees'. Kevin is quite the character and was very entertaining and Tim was quite amused by his antics and his wondrous story telling. Kevin is really quite the entertainer... if only he could manage to be the sort of fellow that one takes out in public with polite company, he would have a real act going. Anyways, the evening went well, drinks were had and enjoyed by all (except for my underage brother), and we had a riotous good time... even if it was a mellower sort of riotous than I think Tim might have liked. Ah well... such is life.
The evening was finished out by Jonny driving Tim back to the hotel (where he was informed that breakfast would be had at IHOP at 10 am, much to his dismay) and I drove back to LU, with Baba tailing me close enough that for a while, I was convinced I had angered some gangster or something. Anyways, I crashed at the Ice Cave, and thus ended a VERY long day.
So yeah, the last 48 hours have been very stressful. I've had to check out, pack up, and try to coordinate everyone coming into town. And I haven't even graduated or gotten married yet, so the next 48 should bode interestingly as well.
Due to residential considerations, I will probably be out of contact save by email and MAYBE a post, if I am so lucky. Keep well until I get back online.
The day started out with the graduation breakfast. This should probably be a post in and of itself, but I digress. After running myself fairly hard the night before (staying up until almost 4 am) to get things packed and ready to move out, I went to pick Anna up at her dorm at 9:50 or so to make it to breakfast by 10. The breakfast was nice with most of the stuff there provided by the faculty and staff who had come to give their best wishes to the graduating seniors. After a while of eating and kibitzing (I don't remember who Anna and I sat with, but I'm sure she does) the graduates were encouraged to get up and talk. Caleb Roepke and Matt Cadmon talked, Leatherwood talked, Becky Casselberry talked (I think), and memory blurs... oh, and Dr. Helmuth talked and closed things off. All in all, it was a very nice breakfast with some nice sentiments mixed in. It really reminded me how much I would miss this place.
After breakfast, Anna and I called her parents and went down to our apartments and loaded up everything that we had packed into their Suburban and our Camry. After all of that packing, we trekked up to the north side of town and deposited the whole lot of it in storage, got gas, and headed back to campus, picking up lunch along the way. It would be more accurate to say that I came back to campus to clean and check out and everyone else went off to run errands, but more about that later.
I got back on campus around 1, and we were supposed to have all of our stuff out of the apartment and cleaned up in time for our 3:30 - 4:30 checkout. For a while, I honestly thought we might pull it off. Turns out that Wilson actually managed to pull it off (with a great amount of help from his father) and Gallagher came pretty stinkin' close (I think he might have made it if it weren't for a couple of complications that he will surely mention.) Wheeler got to stay for the summer and came out smelling like roses... whereas I have a WHOLE lot of stuff.
In the meanwhile, Anna and her mother went to Tyler, Pounds Field to pick up my Nana (maternal grandmother who didn't want to be called Grammy Sherman in the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.) As it turns out, her flight got delayed by 2 hours in Houston, which would have made her late for the graduation banquet and my fiancée and her mother late by proxy. So Anna and her mom (I still don't know what I'm supposed to call my mother-in-law to-be) came back to Longview, and I was left trying to find some poor schmuck to sucker into running out to Tyler to catch her plane. At that same time, I began getting phone calls, reporting that my Paternal Grandmother Cynthia and her husband (Grandpa Earl for the sake of convenience*) had just arrived in Longview. So, I ran around the apartment, called in some more banquet tickets, and begged Strang... er... Gallagher to run out to Tyler to pick Nana up when she arrived... which turned out to require him to leave no less than minutes after he agreed.
Anyways, with graduation banquet looming large, I realized that Nana couldn't make banquet and so I wouldn't need her ticket. So I begged Wilson to run and pick up only 1 ticket (instead of the two that I had called in earlier) and I would keep cleaning. Turns out that I could have used that ticket, as Dad called an hour or so later, having arrived in town after driving 12 hours from Cincinnati, instead of the usual 14 that it takes (lead foot runs in the family and the construction in Arkansas is finally done.)
So yeah... it was Grandma, Grandpa and I running to graduation banquet with Anna and her parents. We sent Dad off to his hotel for and dinner and an early turn-in (he turns into a pumpkin at 9 PM EST, which meant he was about ready for bed just as the banquet started.) An important note is that Grandma and Grandpa had never been to campus before, so it took them a bit to find the place, and Anna and I had been confused as to where the banquet would be, so that added to the fun. Anyhow, we found the grandparents and went and got seats, whereupon Anna's tardy parents arrived and we all had dinner, punctuated by some rather entertaining speeches filled with jabs at LeTourneau by people from whom I would never expect such things. All in all, it was a nice event, but probably not worth the $13 per ticket except that I got to see my friends receive honors, and that was really nice.
About 10 minutes (maybe less) into the banquet, Geoff called to inform me that he, my mother, my "little" brother Jonny (at 6 feet tall), and Geoff's girlfriend had all made it into town. So I tried to line them up something, but they just wanted to eat and crash. Anyways, the evening was ended off by seeing my grandparents off to run back to the hotel, lining up picture time for the following morning, calling all of the family to organize logistics for the next day and wish them good night, and going back to Anna's apartment to help put furniture back where it was supposed to be.
It was fortunate on the furniture front that we were assisted and largely organized by Anna's father, at least on the door front. My future father-in-law is a handy-man extraordinaire, and if anyone could help with the hellacious project of moving full-sized wooden doors out of the attic and putting them where they belong, it was Anna's dad. That bit took about 45 minutes, and the wiser heads ducked out at that point, right as the cleaning began in earnest. Shortly thereafter, Anna and crew decided things needed to be moved here and there and I ducked out a bit to do more phone calling and apartment work, returning to finish bunking beds with Ziggy and Moore's help and then heading back to my apartment for an early bedtime. Hitting the sack at midnight helped prepare me for my 7:30 am wake-up the following morning.
*footnote: He's been my grandpa all of my life, even though we're not technically related, and he's a cool old computer nerd who has taught me a lot of things and helped me fix a lot of computer problems.
Well, it would seem that my Dad has decided to be wonderfully helpful about my stuff in Ohio and is going to drive an empty truck down because I didn't "pull my weight" or some such nonsense. Most people have families who try to make their lives easier when a wedding goes down... mine seems to have the idea that they should try to make my life more hellacious.
It comes this way every semester, but this time it's worse. That ball in my chest and feeling of unease, as if there are a million things wrong and the worst part is that I can't remember most of them but yet I know they're there lurking behind me watching and waiting for the most inopportune moment to rear their nasty heads and send all of that hard work of mine spinning out of control and wrecking my whole life in the process. Fortunately, I'm keeping myself busy enough that the only time the monster can get into my head is right before bed and right as I wake up. It's the finals, the last bit of stuff, the wedding, the fact that I still don't have a job, and then whatever new stress can brew up. Maybe this is God reminding me that I still need Him and now more than ever... but I wish it wasn't all so unpleasant.
I could do with a few less reminders about my own insufficiency and a little bit more comfort about the future.
A great many of you owe me money in some form or another. For those who are counting, hosting runs us about $4 every 3 months, and I get hit up in January, April, July and November. Let your conscience be your guide, but most of you SC-ers owe me roughly $16 at least. As I'm poor and about to be marrried, now would be a good time for you to pay up.
To those of you who owe me various other monies, I would love if you paid up on those as well.