10 fun things about being married

At the Rainbow Room on our anniversary.Today is my second anniversary, and although I’m spending it mostly at work, in the car and in my doctor’s waiting room, I’m also spending it thinking about the great guy I married and how lucky I am. In his honor (and mine), a quick top ten list for us both.

10 Fun Things About Being Married (at least, for us)

  1. Sleeping company. I know a lot of people disagree, but I like having someone else around to sleep with at night. Yeah, it means sharing the bed and the covers and so on. But it also means someone else for the cats to walk over, someone else to turn to and say, “Did you hear that?!” when there’s a weird noise at 3 AM, someone else to ignore the telemarketers that call too early, someone else to talk to when you can’t sleep. I like the company.
  2. Team Kamsler. I may be right and I may be crazy, but either way I’ve got someone who’s promised to be always on my side, right or wrong, no matter what. And I like being part of his team, too.
  3. Feline management assistance. I’ve been outnumbered by Fred and George for years and finally I’ve got someone else to perform minion duty with me. Fred is pleased that our deplorable lack of adequate staff has finally been addressed.
  4. In sickness and in health. It stinks that I get more out of this than Dave does, but then again, I’m glad he’s healthier for his sake, not just mine. We’ve all been there — sick as a dog and miserable, wondering if you can make it to Walgreens for Dayquil or if you might pass out on the way. Now there’s someone to make sure I don’t drown in my own sodden tissues.
  5. Instant Comedy Duo. Dave and I always appreciated each other’s sense of humor, but we’ve got our just-us act down now. It’s like Laurel & Hardy times a million. Secret one-word in-jokes, Friends quotes, and a shared eye roll make the world a funnier place, for just the two of us.
  6. Heavy lifting. I can’t pick up anything that weighs more than a flea anymore, but even without back limitations, there’s some stuff I wouldn’t have been able to budge. Enter SuperHusband, who can lift many groceries with a single arm. Most impressive.
  7. Way Up High. Similarly, speaking on behalf of said husband, he gets the benefit of my being tall. There isn’t a shelf I can’t reach.
  8. Partner in Crime. Dieting, exercising, shopping, it’s all easy together. Unfortunately so is cheating on the diet and being slothful.
  9. Division of Labor. I’m really good at doing laundry, and (weirdly, I know) I actually like doing it. Dave volunteered to be the one who cleans the bathroom and has an (unnatural, in my opinion) obsession with his new vacuum cleaner.
  10. Warm Units. I was even promised them in the vows. My feet are ALWAYS cold at night, and Dave is apparently a human furnace. Who needs socks? 🙂

So happy anniversary to my very best friend and favorite person in the world. 🙂 You are awesome, and we’re awesomer together.

sea ya real soon

I cried when we left for our honeymoon (I hate leaving the cats). I cried when it was over. Apparently, I cry at endings and goodbyes of any kind. And ending our honeymoon was sad, because it was really wonderful.

IMG_0038I’ve never been on a cruise ship of any kind before, or been to the Caribbean, or even been to Florida. This trip would’ve been a big deal for all of those “firsts”, but this was the honeymoon we’d been planning for over a year, cruising on the Disney Fantasy to the Eastern Caribbean islands. Dave and I were so excited. We flew down the day before and stayed at the Hyatt at the Orlando Airport, which is weird but convenient. In the morning we took the Magical Express to the cruise terminal, and soon we were off.

My cousin Lori gave us Bride Minnie and Groom Mickey hats for a shower gift and we wore these on the first day of the cruise… and it felt like EVERYONE on the boat knew us, as a result. People were so nice and congratulated us all week long, and the crew, of course, made sure we got special treatment and enjoyed every minute of our honeymoon. And hey, a couple we met even got engaged on the cruise (congrats, Brittany & Doug!), so there must have been something romantic in the air all around.

DSCN5531Our stateroom was terrific. Pretty roomy for a cruise ship, comfortable, a veranda to look out, and a nice stateroom attendant to tidy everything up twice a day. I didn’t make a bed, do laundry, cook or wash a dish all week. It was so relaxing. And as for the food, the entire week was fine dining every night. Disney does something called rotational dining, so you eat in different onboard restaurants every night, but your servers go with you. Our servers were Sasa and Gede. Dave warned me that by the end of the week you feel sad having to leave them, and he’s right — I got all weepy. They take such good care of you and make it all a little home away from home. I’m never good with hotels — I get creeped out even in nice ones, thinking about all the people who’ve stayed there, some sad and alone, it gets me depressed. But the ship was warm and friendly and just like living in our own little floating neighborhood.

DCL1My favorite restaurant on the Fantasy is “Enchanted Garden”. Ever since we started planning the trip, I wanted to sit in one of the few banquette “teacups” in the front of the room. I assume these are usually reserved for VIPs or concierge-level guests, but Dave had put in a request for one since it was our honeymoon, and Disney accommodated us — so we got to sit in our “teacup” every time we dined there. So nice! I also liked “Royal Court”, and especially because our night there happened to coincide with the ship’s formal night. Any reason to wear my wedding tiara again is much appreciated.

There was a lot to do on the ship. We saw characters — princesses, Donald, Mickey and Woody from Toy Story:

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I hugged him and told him I’d seen all his movies.

We went to a drawing lesson, saw several live shows, went to the movies, watched football in the sports pub. Disney Cruise Line has the only fireworks at sea, and we had a great seat for the show on Pirate Night. Dave rode the Aquaduck:

and we did very little shopping, aside from a souvenir or two, but we had fun window-shopping in the stores. I did break my “no more stuffed animals” rule, but just this once. It was a special occasion, after all.

IMG_1946We spent a lot of time at the pool. The “Quiet Cove” adult pool was always heated and comfortable and never really too crowded; it’s empty in this picture but some days, especially the at-sea ones, were a lot busier, but it was always friendly and fun. I confess I may have enjoyed it more than some for another reason: the center area was 5 feet, 5 inches deep… too much for a lot of folks to linger in, but just fine for 5’10” me. Being tall sometimes helps.

IMG_1955We also very much enjoyed our stop at St. Thomas. We took an excursion on a catamaran sail to the aptly-named Honeymoon Beach on St. John, and it was a lot of fun. The weather was perfect and the sailing was every bit as fun as I hoped it would be. The beach was clean and blue and white. Dave snorkeled and I played in the waves until it was time to sail back to the ship. Beautiful day.

All in all it was everything we could have possibly wished for in a honeymoon. At the end of the week, I was thrilled to be going back home to my kitties, but sadder than I could have imagined to say goodbye to our new floating home. Mickey doesn’t say good-bye, though: he just says “Sea Ya Real Soon”, so that’s how we’ll leave it… until our next cruise, whenever that is. (Next time, Alaska!)

the name game

I was more than eager to change my name when I got married, for reasons that anyone who knows me would understand. And having worked in the Clerk’s office these past few years, I know just what the procedure is: get your marriage certificate from the clerk and take that to Social Security, then the DMV, and then change it everyone else. Simple, right Not exactly. And the weirdest part is that the places we thought would be the most hassle weren’t, and in reverse, some places that shouldn’t have blinked were the worst.

US-PassportcoverMost important for us was getting my passport changed. Our cruise isn’t until January and we wanted to book everything in my new name, so I’d need an updated passport. I worried about that a lot — how long would it take, should we pay for the super-fast service, or just expedite it, would it come back quickly. Well, bravo, State Department, because it was a breeze. I made a short appointment at the Post Office, got new pics and mailed everything out, and I had my newly-minted document back in my hands about two weeks later. We were even able to track the progress while it was processing. Nicely done, federal government.

I’ll give credit to the feds for Social Security as well, though sitting in that office waiting for my turn was like a page out of Sartre’s “No Exit”. New York State, however, gets a slightly lower rating. Some of my endeavors at the DMV were fine — new license, new registration. Getting a new title apparently involves making the paper it’s printed on from scratch. And your “EZ Pass” program was a little too persnickety about documentation for changing my last name on something that’s linked to a device velcroed to my window.

PayPal was not a walk in the park and took two tries uploading scans of my forms. But every other site was simple — Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Google, it was just a matter of typing in the change. Apparently I could tell the Internet my name is Toni Princess Consuela Bananahammock and that would be fine.

Now, credit cards were a very mixed bag. One of them wished me to have a magical-kingdom-nice-day and did it in a flash, no questions asked. A certain clothing store’s card did the same, and I think sent me a 30% off coupon just ’cause in the process. With Bank of America, I went into my branch and was able to take care of my accounts there easily enough — but the credit card officer we had to call wanted me to go into a bank to process my request, which he said to me as I was calling him from a bank. Any of that pales compared to American Express — my favorite credit card (JetBlue miles!) and usually a wonderful company to deal with, but in this instance a monster-filled nightmare. I filled out forms and uploaded documents. I waited. I called to see what the problem was; I was told there was no problem, so I waited. I called again and was told all my submitted documents were illegible. I had an unpleasant conversation with a customer service person who didn’t understand what a PDF was. I submitted again. Those were also not acceptable. I had my new husband craft a lovely, CPA-ish letter that said, “Get this fixed and send my wife her AmEx card ASAP”, and it arrived FedEx a day later. (That right there? That’s why I married him. ) So go figure.

If I had it to do over I wouldn’t be so blithe, but it’s all done now, and I am who I am, both in paper and in plastic.

movin’ on up

wheelmudSo, we’re here. On Long Island, and home. As I write this, Dave is finishing up one of our last tasks, hooking up the TV in the living room, and with that, we’ll have everything almost set. Not too bad, right? Less than two weeks later and we’re done with the move and everything. Did it all go off without a hitch? Not exactly, but in the end it all worked out.

The morning after our wedding, tired and headachy from a hotel room with the worst ventilation ever, we said goodbye to a lot of people: out of town guests traveling back home, friends hitting the road, people from home I would be leaving in a few days. And I did not handle it well. The excitement of the wedding, I think, kept me from thinking too hard about the fact that I was moving away from everything I know. There were a lot of tears.

Also a lot of manual labor. There was still some packing and cleaning to do, and on Monday, a giant U-Haul truck to load. That eventually went really smoothly, but not before we drove it back from the rental site, pulled up to the house… and promptly got really stuck in the mud. And when you get an enormous 26′ moving truck stuck in the mud, even a little, there’s really no simple rock-back-and-forth solution. The more you try that, the worse it gets. You’re stuck. I mean, we had a trained archaeologist on hand, and even she couldn’t dig us out (thanks for trying, though, Jen!). But an hour or so of panic, a tow from a slightly smaller U-Haul truck later, and we were back in business. Everything got loaded up and the guys hit the road, and Dave and I spent one last night in an empty house, said goodbye to some good friends, and got up Tuesday morning and left, kitties in their carriers, car loaded to the gills.

IMG_1805It wasn’t that bad of a drive. The cats didn’t like it, and didn’t eat or use their litter box, or drink anything other than a few drops of milk, but they were calm the whole ride. And we made decent time, and kept each other company. It was okay. We arrived home in Smithtown in one piece, home to a house already full of furniture and boxes, thanks to our amazing family and friends who’d unloaded the truck, and a nice welcome home surprise from my new mother-in-law.

IMG_1818The days since have been busy. We’ve taken some breaks here and there, but I think we both felt the sooner we could get rid of the boxes and get everything set up, the better. We went room by room and got it all done, including moving in The Couch That Almost Wasn’t — if it wasn’t for a terrific new neighbor, that couch would either still be stuck in the hallway, or gone in sawed-apart pieces.

The cats in particular have calmed down a lot now that the boxes are gone. I strongly suspect they don’t know the difference between packing and unpacking, and this has just been a continuation of the disarray their life has been for a month. Georgie is very okay now, exploring and playing all the time. He’s a little too excited and won’t settle down to snuggle, but he will eventually. Freddie has taken a little more time. Spatial relations have never been his strong suit, and there have been times he’s forgotten how to find his water bowl, or even me. But he loves his fireplace, just like I knew he would.

And me? I’m okay. I’m happy, of course. I waited for this day to come for a long time. I love our new home, and I love Dave, and everything is good. But if I’m telling the truth, I’m a lot more homesick than I thought I’d be. I miss everyone. I miss everything. I keep picturing my room in my house, my yard, my driveway. My ride to work. My neighborhood, my stores, my familiar places. It’s not anything against here, but I find myself wishing I could just do the aisles at the NF Boulevard Wegmans, go to bingo, and then come back home here again. And I wish I could do that whenever, and not once in a long while. I love the changes I made, and I love it here, but I miss the things and the people I had to leave behind, maybe a little more than I’d planned on.

the perfect day

IMG_1802The past week or so has been a whirlwind. We got married, we packed up my house, we drove across the state and now we’re here, in our home in Smithtown. It feels like we haven’t stopped moving the whole time but it’s all been wonderful, even the crazy parts.

bus

The bus to take everyone to our rehearsal dinner at Chef’s, Friday night.

We got engaged at Thanksgiving 2011, so this wedding was almost two years in the planning. And — if I do say so myself — it showed. Everything turned out exactly as we wanted it to, as we’d imagined it would, as we’d hoped, all that time. I have to admit, though, that just having everyone in our wedding party there with us made us happy; we knew that no matter what else happened we’d be celebrating that day with the people who mean the most to us, and nothing else mattered. I hope they all had as much fun as we did.

IMG_1799

Just finished getting hair and makeup done at Salon 716.

For me, it was all a bit of the blur they say it’s going to be; Dave says it wasn’t like that for him, but I kept having to remind myself this was really it, that we weren’t just planning anymore. The first part of the day was a little surreal. I got to spend some downtime in my bridal ready room with Paula, until it was time to get dressed and go down… and that’s when it hit me that I was getting married right then. It was happening, and soon. In the meantime, we took pictures, we laughed, I cried for not the last time that day, and then we went over to wait for the ceremony to begin. I may be biased, but I think it was fun and beautiful and amazing. I cried a bit more, which everyone tells me is normal, but my nose was running too, which is icky — they never talk about corollary issues in the movies, you know?

drunktank

From the Bridesmaid Drunk Tank, pre-ceremony. They claim they weren’t drinking yet, but I’m very dubious.

After a cocktail hour that I think was pretty hopping — tons of food, drink and socializing — we were introduced for our reception, our first dance, and cutting the cake. Despite an earlier Magic 8-Ball prediction, no one fell the whole night, whoo hoo! There was yummy turkey dinner, not that I could eat more than a few bites (Scarlett O’Hara wasn’t kidding; you can’t eat much in those corsets), and then lots and lots and lots of dancing. I had all the fun I could, no matter how tired I got, or how much my leg hurt after awhile. You only get married once, and I wanted to enjoy every minute, so I did.

So did a lot of the rest of you, apparently, I might add. Greg, you clearly have a career as a professional wedding dancer waiting for you, any time. My new mother-in-law, Estelle, was out there with you, tearing up the dance floor, as was Stephen, Fiona, and just about everyone else there. Paula did a mean MC Hammer that was legen — wait for it — dary. The show-stopper award has to go to Jake Oztan, though, for his impromptu Gangnam Style:

IMG_1816

Can you spot Fred & George on the cake?

We put on a great wedding, but not without some help. The Millennium Hotel has exceptional event staff, Michael and Ron especially, and our photographer, Glena Photography, gets our highest recommendation. We have only the most wonderful memories, now, because of them both — for providing such an amazing venue and for documenting our day, all so perfectly. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

At the end of the night, the remaining stragglers sang along to “I Got You Babe” with us and thus ended the most well-planned, happiest day of my life… so far. When you’re married to a guy like Dave, someone this terrific, after all, there are bound to be lots more wonderful days to come.

this isn’t our song

Dave and I have a song, a song I love, and one we’ll be dancing to at the wedding this weekend. This isn’t that song. 🙂 But it’s a very nice one. And I think we’re going to have lots of songs over the years — songs for singing along to in the car, songs for dancing, songs that make us laugh. I have a feeling this song is always going to remind me of the year we got married, and all the happiness I know is going to come. It also makes me think of all the wonderful couples I know, the ones whose happiness makes me smile, and how very much I wish them the best. And if this all seems a little sappy, well, I’m three days out, here. 🙂 You should kind of expect it.

thank you, JetBlue

In April of this year, Dave booked his ticket to fly to Buffalo on October 26, for our wedding two weeks later. That’s the day I’ve been counting down to and it’s here and I couldn’t be happier — and I’d like to thank JetBlue for a favor that made our day just a little more special.

Jet_BlueSince this would be Dave’s last flight to me, I wanted to do something special for him. So I wrote JetBlue an email and explained everything to them — our back-and-forth long distance relationship, all three+ years of it, with all but a bare few of those flights on JetBlue. I told them how I’d learned the specifications of the aircraft that make the NYC/Buffalo run, and that my favorite seat was 3A and then all of Dave’s favorite things about flying with them (DirecTV!). I told them about our last flight to each other and asked if they could do something for him, just a little gesture. And they responded very courteously and said they would do their best — they can’t guarantee anything, due to other priorities, but they really do everything they can.

And it worked! Before takeoff, the pilot came and said hello (his name was Dave too!) and asked if this was a special flight, and if Dave was getting married. Dave was surprised at being asked and said yes (he texted me, “Did you call JB?!” and I admitted I had) and they chatted a bit. And that was great in itself, but that was just the start — then as they were taxiing, they congratulated Dave in the in-flight announcement before takeoff, told everyone on the plane, people clapped, Dave got lots of congratulations, and, I hope, felt special and wonderful, which he is.

So thanks, JetBlue. I mean it. I didn’t ask for much but that didn’t mean you had to do anything, and you came through in a very nice, big way. Very classy, and very appreciated. 🙂

the last countdown

countdownSo I’ve been counting down to our wedding day for months, sometimes posting about it on Facebook. Eight months to go, five months… one month. But I’ve had a secret the whole time: it’s a fake-out. Oh, the wedding is really on November 9, don’t be silly. But that isn’t the day I’m really anxious for. Secretly, I’ve been aiming a few weeks earlier, for this Saturday, for October 26. That’s the day Dave comes here and then doesn’t go away. At least, not without me.

It’s been three years and about four months since we got together — wonderful times, of course, but also years of goodbyes and counting the days until we see each other again, occasional time zone difficulties and calls, texts, Skype and email. I’ve cried in an airport, at last count, sixty-four times. Every minute we’re together is wonderful and every minute we spend apart I’m looking forward to the next time. And it’s finally done. No more picking him up at the airport and trying not to think about how I’ll be right back there in a few days, dropping him off. No more planning visits. No more goodbyes.

Obviously, we’ll be apart sometimes. Dave still loves Vegas, and I still like to see my friends, and we’ll do things apart, sometimes for a stretch of days. So yes, there’ll be airports and goodbyes in our future, but it’s not the same. Not at all. We won’t ever be leaving each other just to go back to separate homes anymore. From now on, my home will be his home, and his home will be mine, and that’s the place we’ll both always be coming back to, wherever we go. It’s been such a long time coming but we’re finally here, and I couldn’t be happier. So no more countdowns for me, after this weekend. We’re going to have a lovely wedding, but I’ll already have the one thing I’ve wanted all this time.