(Warning: this is a long entry. You might want to pace yourself. Though I hope you enjoy reading about the wedding, this entry is more of a way for me to remember the weekend.)
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I was in Canada this past weekend. Here’s the whys and the whats of the trip.
Flash back about two years. The THorum had been having some trouble and had been reset a couple of times before. In January of 2004 it got reset again. Everyone started from scratch and everything old was wiped out. The new version was more stable and grew from there. People joined up, people met, and new friends were made.
A guy named Mike was integral to getting the THorum up and running and running well. He was some young kid from Texas, but he knew how to program a thing or two and got things done. Whenever there were issues, he was the guy to talk to. Since I’m one of those picky, notice-every-little-issue guys, it seemed like I was going to him a lot. We got to be friends and started talking on instant messenger outside the THorum.
After a while, some girl from Canada joined up and got involved in the community. Meags (rhymes with “eggs”) was well-behaved and interesting and we soon got to be friends, too.
Meags had some questions about doing some things with her website, and she got pointed in the direction of Mike. He was very helpful and they started talking more and more. One day I was chatting with Meags and she said, “I think I like him. Can you find out how he feels about me?” A little IMing later and I had an answer for her. Short version: they got married two days ago.
They asked me a while ago if I would be a part of the wedding. Without hesitation, I jumped at the chance. They were both good friends of mine and I wanted to be part of such a neat story.
So now we’re up to last Thursday.
I got up around 3:30 in the morning and got to the airport in plenty of time. I don’t care for flying much, but I’m somehow able to manage it. I have to try to distract myself, particularly during takeoffs and landings. It isn’t just the sensations and bumps and noises, it’s also the small, closed-in area. I have claustrophobic tendencies anyway, and a small room that flies isn’t any better than one that just sits there. The windows don’t help, for some reason. Seeing a shaking airplane wing doesn’t set my mind at ease. The planes were all three-seaters, two seats, an aisle, then another seat, and I’ve come to realize that the smaller the plane, the less I like it. Try taking me up in a Cessna if you want me to seriously freak out (please don’t).
I had a very short layover in Newark, NJ, and then was on my way to Halifax. Right off the bat things got weird. We had to walk down steps and across the tarmac to get to the terminal, something I’d only ever had to do once before. It’s an odd feeling. Once in the terminal, I got another odd feeling: they were doing construction in that wing, so it felt like I was walking in a plywood tunnel, and the tunnel went on a lot longer than I expected it to.
The customs fellow asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Canada. When I said I was there for a wedding, he asked where I’d met the bride and groom. “Well, uh, I haven’t, actually.” More questions, of course, but he seemed okay with my answers and I was let into Canada.
On to the car rental desk. Any time I’m slightly out of my element I’m pretty sure it’s not too much fun to have to deal with me – the simplest things stop making sense to me and I’m easily confused. They said they had a Ford Taurus for me, I asked if they had a Vibe or a Matrix, they didn’t but would give a Mustang for the same price as a Fusion, which they were also out of. If you’re going to drive, you might as well drive in style, right? I took the Mustang, but opted for grey instead of red – flashy, but not too flashy.
Three and a half hours later I’m in Yarmouth at the hotel where I’m told there’s a special rate for wedding party members. The girl behind the desk can’t find anything about that, so I say, “I’ll just take a room anyway.” After finding out how much the rooms were, though, I said, “Uh… I’m actually going to go check around. I might be back.” I didn’t intend to be. At the next slightly-cheaper place, I found out that my credit card wasn’t working. A call to the company revealed that they hadn’t gotten my last payment yet – a slightly larger payment to avoid just this sort of thing – and they weren’t willing to budge. So I sat down in the lobby to try to figure something out. My little brain wasn’t having much luck, but it was right about then that Meags called and asked how things were going. I didn’t want to worry her – she had plenty to deal with already, after all – but I also thought another brain might help me figure something out. So I told her what was going on and she said, “Hang on a few minutes.” She called back and said everything was taken care of, Mike had gotten a room and I could split it with him later. I argued a little, but knew it really was pretty much my only option at that point. I thanked her and she said they were actually in Halifax and would be back at some point.
I went to the room and pretty much crashed – I watched Ghostbusters on the laptop, but I don’t remember parts of it, so I think I kind of dozed through parts. I decided to go to sleep but figured I should leave a light on for Mike whenever he got back.
Turns out, Meags got sick on the way back to Yarmouth, so they all (them and the bridesmaids) stopped somewhere for the night, so the light was on all night. I was tired enough that it didn’t bother me, so no big deal.
I got up when the phone rang for Meags to tell me they’d be there in a while. Sure enough, shortly after I was ready, they showed up in full force: Meags, Mike, Mandy, and Alyssa. This was the first time I met Meags, but after talking to her so much over the last year it didn’t feel like it. I’d had the “big brother vibe” going for a while, but it was nice to finally meet her face-to-face. Mandy and Alyssa were both very friendly and seemed happy to see me. From there we went down a floor to pick up Jamie and we headed to the RedCap for lunch. There I met Mike’s mom, Meags’ mom, Meags’ sister, Holly, (the last bridesmaid), and an aunt and uncle of Mike. Mike’s dad showed up soon, and for a while people were in and out and I was trying to keep them all straight. I had an egg salad sandwich and rice. A weird combination, I know, but when I asked for “fries” she heard “rice.” It was good rice, so I didn’t mind. I also tried poutine, which is basically fries with cheese and gravy. It was okay, but I doubt I’d order it myself ever. It’s a traditional dish there, though, so I needed to try it.
Somewhere along the line things started falling apart – phone calls started coming in about the Newark airport being closed down and people weren’t going to be able to make it to the wedding. The decision was made to push the wedding back from 1:00 to 5:00 on Saturday to give people time to get there. More stress for Meags…
The rehearsal went well – one of the moms (I’ll name no names!) teared up and was given a pretty hard time about it. After the dinner, the wedding party went to a local establishment for the purpose of playing pool. Much pool was played, much fun was had. It was mostly two vs. two, and any time I was on a team with Meags’ mom, I was on the winning team, no thanks to me. Towards the end as people dropped out, there were one vs. one matches, and I got beat by Jamie (I helped her out a lot, sinking the 8 ball waaay before I should have) but then beat Mandy by sinking the 8 ball at exactly the right time. It was a lot of fun.
Mike and I went back to our room and ended up chatting online with some THorumites (him on his computer, mine on mine) until about 3:00 in the morning. Probably not a good idea, but it seemed fitting on the eve of a THorumite wedding.
We got up around 11:00 and met Mike’s parent’s at Pizza Delight for lunch. While there, Wes (another groomsman) and his wife Heidi showed up. I kept expecting to meet someone awful, but it didn’t happen. They were fantastic people, too. You know what they say – if you can’t figure out who the jerk is in a group, it’s probably you. They were all very nice to me, so they can apparently handle jerks and I appreciate it. The most amusing story of the lunch time came from Heidi, who told how Wes had wanted their honeymoon out of the country to be a surprise, but needed to get her passport ahead of time. The short version is that the picture on Heidi’s passport is actually of her twin sister. There was laughter after the initial shock, but then she explained that the instructions on the passport say the picture needs to be a “likeness,” so it’s apparently okay. Even if it isn’t, it’s one of the best stories I’ve ever heard.
There’s more running around to do before a wedding than you might realize. We probably should have gotten up a bit sooner, but we ended up getting everything done. We got to the photographer’s house on time and from there to the studio without any trouble. The photographer was a fantastic lady named Monique who took some fantastic pictures and was very nice about the way she set up the shots. Some photographers are kinda pushy and mean, but she was as nice as … well, a Canadian. You can see some of her work on her website: http://www.moniquedeon.com/
The wedding itself was sweet and nice. It felt like a good wedding. That’s a weird thing to say about a wedding, I’m sure, but it seems like the more formal and stiff a wedding feels, the less good it feels. Wes and I did double duty as ushers and groomsmen, and we got it done. People got sat and bridesmaids got escorted, and I think that’s pretty much what we needed to do. All of the standard wedding problems happened before the wedding actually started – we ended up one grandmother and one groomsman short – but the ceremony went very well, the bride was beautiful, and it went off with the one hitch it’s supposed to have.
At the reception, guests were encouraged to say a poem or sing a song about love to get the bride and groom to kiss. I’m always amazed by the willingness of people to do that sort of thing, but there were several takers. Just as I was working up the nerve, they moved on to the next part of the reception and I missed my chance.
Mike and Meags danced to the Michael W. Smith song “Love of My Life” for their first dance. I had introduced Meags to the song and I had forgotten she was planning to have it at their wedding. I might have teared up a bit during their dance, but you’ll never be able to prove it.
It wasn’t really until most people had left that the DJ started playing music that causes normal people to dance. The bridesmaids jumped in full force and pulled Wes and I on the floor as well. Now, I don’t dance. I just don’t. I did, however, participate in some synchronized clapping and I did twirl a little bit with one of the grandmothers. That’s all you get.
From there it was back to the hotel – sans Mike, of course. I did, however, pick up another roommate. A friend of Meags rode the bus from Halifax to get to the wedding, but needed a ride back, so it made sense for him to stay in the room rather than at a restaurant like he had the night before. Frankly, you should all be a little proud of me for stepping outside my misanthropic box on this trip. I was nervous, but I still have all my kidneys, so I guess it turned out okay.
I collected all the tuxes and took the down to Mike’s parents’ room, walked with Jamie as she took Maddie (the family Chihuahua and one of the cutest dogs ever) across the street to accomplish her “business,” and then went to bed.
Pretty uneventful. Left Yarmouth around 9:00 a.m. and drove to Halifax. I returned the rental car after putting almost 1,000 kilometers on it, and the same very nice girl was at the lot. I thanked her for being so nice and helping me get acclimated to the Canadian climate. Then I got on a plane and flew to Newark. My seatmate for this leg of the journey was incredibly friendly and nice and we talked about such important things as chewing gum and the extended versions of The Lord of the Rings. The Newark-to-Cleveland flight was delayed, so when I got to Cleveland, my Cleveland-to-Indy flight had already gone. So… another night of sleeping in an airport. Though it was technically the next day, I won’t leave you hanging: I got home okay on Monday.
All in all, it was a great trip. To be honest, when I was preparing to go on the trip, I got a little worried about it. I was concerned that I couldn’t afford it, and I had my usual concerns about meeting new people. I’m always sure things will be awkward and people won’t like me and I’ll try to overcompensate and that will just make things worse. You can never really know what other people think of you, of course, but I can say that I felt at home the whole time. I didn’t want to leave and I certainly want to see them all again. The chances of all of them being together in the same place again are slim, I know, but they were that great a group of people. If you’re one of them, make sure to read the previous entry for your personalized message, and thank you again for such a wonderful time. Even though I just met most of you, I miss you already.
I have two more Canada-related entries planned, so use that info to decide whether or not you’ll be back.