Thursday, October 11, 2007

I've been a little busy. You know, homemaking and the like. I could talk about the social differences between Colorado and south Carolina. I could talk about our house, or about the weather here, or about all the things I've been doing. I could talk about how I'm coping. I could talk about our church search. But I'm not going to, that stuff can wait. So what's so important that it supersedes all the aforementioned topics? What's the most important thing I've learned since I moved here, that deserves its VERY OWN POST?

Spiders, ladies and gentlemen. Arachnids. Satan's little 8-legged minions. I have always been petrified of them.

When my sister and dad were still here, we spent a day in Charleston. On the College of Charleston campus, we saw a spider bigger than my palm. Amy and my dad were taking pictures of it and saying it was "cool" and "pretty" (that's what they want you to think!).
The first day in our new house, my dad came in from the garage and cheerfully announced, "You've got a garage spider!". Sure enough, there was a big sucker sitting right on the lid of our trash can.
The next day we took a walk in Harbison State Forest, and my dad nearly walked through a web several layers deep which was home to TWO large spiders. He did not think they were so "cool" this time.
Stephen went out of town later that week, and I alone. Now, our backyard is kind of wooded, and there's a cute little bench nestled between two trees. One night, around 11:30, I took Moses outside before bed (with my trusty flashlight), and thought "I'll sit in that bench while Moses does his thing". As I ambled towards the bench, I noticed the faintest gleam of light reflected in a single line of spider web, a little to my right. I swung the flashlight up and followed the line down, which connected to another line which formed a web about two feet wide. Dead Center sat a big fat spider, not 6 inches from my face. It would be a small understatement to say that my mental state dissolved rapidly into a fit of terror.
I'd like to take a moment to apologize to my new neighbors for screaming like a little girl.
Amy and I have a name for the foolishness that follows: Spider-Poking. It's that morbid fascination in us that wants to provoke the thing we're scared of. In scary movies, something like Spider-Poking is what makes the stupid, pretty girl go towards the strange noise even though the creepy music is playing. Spider-Poking is was made me blow on the spider (after I had mostly gotten done panicking). He tightened up but didn't move. I was not satisfied, so I got a stick and snapped a line of his web, which caused him to scuttle to a different location on his web and caused me to scream again, this time jumping up and down.
I said to myself,
"Self, this is madness! This has got to stop. I'm afraid!"
To which I replied... to myself,
"I'm afraid, too. But I'm afraid of what will happen if we DON'T stop!"
So I poked again. After that he moved so fast that I screamed three or four times successively, threw the branch away from me, and made a break for the back porch.
I'd like to take another moment to apologize to my neighbors again. It's probably really annoying that I was doing that at, like, midnight.

My theory here is that the spiders are patiently plotting my demise. They are systematically eliminating the places I can go (the garage, the backyard) and thereby eliminating my escape routes. This theory was confirmed a few days ago when Stephen found a spider on the door to the back porch. It's only a matter of time till they cut off the front door route, and then I'll be trapped in the house. Then, I believe, they'll trap me in a small room by the same process of elimination.
Everyone tells me that they're harmless, or that I'm bigger than them. But they have all the advantages! 4 times as many legs, ability to see in the dark, ability to hide unnoticed in corners and crevices, and sheer creepiness. I'm trying to think of a defense strategy. So far my main tactics have been unsuccessful (screaming, running away, screaming some more) but calling for Stephen usually works. My plans call for further development.

Also, we are having lovely weather today.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yesterday was my last day at work. I went straight home and to the dentist immediately thereafter in order to pay the man 800 dollars to take 4 of my teeth out. I was so nervous, but I don't remember anything but feeling a sharp poke in my arm from the IV, and then slowly waking up, hearing unfamiliar voices and feeling very confused. Then I heard Stephen's voice and I knew whatever was going on must be ok. I made a groggy attempt to reach my hand out to him and he held my hand and kept talking to me. I slept the whole way home. I remember hearing Stephen saying he was going to the store, and later hearing him say that he brought me a special treat- coconut chicken soup from our favorite Thai restaurant (if you're ever in Denver, please please ask me for directions to this place!).

I slept 4 or 5 hours yesterday afternoon, and another 10 last night. Surprisingly I'm barely swollen at all and I'm not too sore, though my mouth smells like something crawled down my throat and died, and tastes much, much worse. I was allowed to drink a sip of water yesterday morning with my birth control and I brushed my teeth, but I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything else before the surgery, including gum. I haven't been allowed to brush my teeth since the surgery, until at least 3 today, and my mouth is a foul, terrible place right now. I can't imagine that eating my Thai food is going to improve the situation much, though it's going to be delicious.

I think I might take a Vicodin and go back to sleep. The sooner this is over, the sooner I *get to* start packing. Yippee.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

How to piss me off

My company has hired a woman to take my position next week when I quit, and they have her working the front desk with me to get the hang of things. Given her complete lack of communication skills, it is my opinion that this woman might be a better fit at a fast food restaurant or the shady billing department for Royal Prestige. This woman's name is Chong Mi. She is an interrupter, and an over-talker. She is a conversation usurper (she will take over any conversation and turn herself into the new subject). She talks about herself all day, and she talks TO herself all day. And not like mumbling-under-her-breath talking to herself, either. She just talks out loud in a normal voice, seemingly to no one in particular, and occasionally glances at me to see if I'm listening (I'm not). She also does this thing where if she thinks she's said something kind of funny, she'll pause for a few moments and then say in a slightly higher-pitched voice "I was like...(insert previous comment)!! AHAHAHA!" Chong Mi is driving me CRAZY.

You know when there's a random fly in your house and is just nonchalantly buzzing around, landing on things and playing dumb while you sneak up on it then flying away at the last second? And then buzzing around your head, taunting you? Always BUZZING?!? Chong Mi is like that fly.

I'm just going to walk you through a few of our typical "conversations".

Chong Mi: So, is your husband going to do most of the packing?
Rachel: Well, Stephen is actually working right up to-
Chong Mi: Yeah, My husband isn't a packer. I did most of our packing myself! Ahahahaha! Yeah, he just sat around! Hahaha!

The phone rings. I page Sherry and tell her she has a call on 803. Sherry tries to pick up 801, and the caller hangs up. The phone rings again and Sherry picks up the right line.

Rachel: I think Sherry picked up the wrong line. I guess the caller got tired of waiting and hung up.
Chong Mi: Yeah, maybe.

60 Seconds Later

Chong Mi (in revelatory tone): OH! I know what must have happened. I bet Sherry picked up the wrong line. Ha! Well, there we go.
Rachel: Stunned silence

Chong Mi overheard me talking to someone about Moses- I was worried because he was sick (he's fine now).

Chong Mi: So, is your dog ok? What did the vet say?
Rachel: He's not sure. They want to run some bloodwork and take some X-Rays. They think-
Chong Mi: Oh, yeah I had this cat once that was just so FUNNY- haha- but she was sick and she was really old, and they wanted me to pay 800 dollars for surgery for her, and they weren't sure if she would even live, so we had to put her down, and it was really hard. So I know EXACTLY how you feel. ***nods assuringly***
Rachel: Stunned silence

Stephen stops by the office in the morning, and I feel obligated to introduce him to the bane of my sanity.

Rachel (grudginly): Chong Mi, this is my husband, Stephen.
Stephen (shaking Chong Mi's hand): Hi, it's nice to meet you.
Chong Mi (shaking Stephen's hand): Hi! Good luck with South Carolina!
Stephen: Oh, um. Thanks.
Rachel: Increasingly irritated silence

Dawn walks past the desk and initiates a conversation with Rachel regarding the upcoming move.

Dawn: Well, it sounds like it's going to be a big change for you! I lived down south for a while, and it's very different there.
Rachel: Oh really? Where down South, exactly?
Chong Mi: Yeah, I lived in Tennessee for 6 months and I went crazy! You know, it's so bible belt. And the bugs! Oh my gosh, but I lived in a small town, and I had my little girl with me. But you know (assumes intellectual tone and lectures about the cultural atmosphere in whatever podunk town she lived in for a solid 5 minutes).

I think you get the idea. Chong Mi breaks all my conversation rules which are reasonable and should not have to be explained as they are really only common courtesy.

1. Don't interrupt me.
2. Stop thinking about what you're going to say when you stop hearing the sound of my voice.
3. Respond with something relevant. A few ways to do this are
a) make a comment which reflects the feelings I just described (That must have been hard for you.)
b) share a story or situation which ties in to the one I just described (You know, my brother once did something similar...)
c) A genuine facial expression, laughter, or other non-verbal communication tool
4. Under no circumstances shall you overtalk me by speaking louder and louder until I finally give up.
5. Don't do that asking-a-question-because-you-want-me-to-ask-you-the-same-question thing (example: What are you doing this weekend? Oh cool... uh-huh... Well I'M going to this awesome concert...). If you want to tell me what YOU are doing this weekend, please come right to the point and stop wasting my time with ingenuine conversation.
6. Don't fish for compliments.

There. Rules that are applicable to me, but really, to everyone. This stuff is universal, people.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Right now I'm working at a computer learning center. Part of what we do is send our instructors to company sites to train their employees, and typically the people who took the class fill out a little paper evaluation. Part of what I do is enter those evaluations into our system so we have them digitally. (This, ladies and gentleman, is what we call busy work).

We just sent 5 or 6 of our instructors to run some classes for Weld County School District (Weld County teachers were strongly recommended but not required to attend classes like Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint). As I've been entering the evaluations from this particular session, I've chiefly noticed two things:

  1. Teachers make giant smiley faces in all the comment sections, as compared to everyone else who... well, don't.
  2. Teachers make excellent and consistent smileys.

But there was one evaluation which stood out to me this morning. Iris (who identified herself as an English teacher, big surprise) felt led to pen a lengthy paragraph about the demise of education and the rise of technology in the little section marked "Comments/Suggestions to improve your experience?" I was baffled and moved by her (somewhat misdirected) eloquence, and sad that this little Microsoft Vista evaluation form, that probably only I will ever read, would be her only forum. So I have decided to share Iris' comments/suggestions with you all. Perhaps it will inspire you. Perhaps it will challenge you. And perhaps... it will make you laugh.

"I am sad that great literature and the newest technology are truly moving in opposite directions. We are now forever handcuffed to technology while the great foundations of our historical, literary, and artistic past continue to die protesting but quiet deaths. We have inherited fragmented education (thank you, technology!) where students no longer read complete novels but instead, they jump on spark notes... and text messaging continues to erode essay writing. There is a price tag..."

I just don't know what else I can add to this. I was so surprised to find such lofty language and such passionate expression in so simple (and, it could be argued, inappropriate) a setting that much of its seriousness was diluted by the sheer random humor of it.

Wildly emotive comments? Spontaneous, dramatic suggestions? Do share.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I started a new pack of birth control today. Maybe you didn't want to know that, but let me explain. 1 pack is 4 weeks long, exactly 28 days. It struck me as I was staring at the neat little rows of round yellow pills that I would be taking the last few pills in South Carolina.

Let me walk you through the unfolding of the event which I have been simultaneously dreading and eagerly anticipating. You follow the first row, day by day, to pills 4 and 5 (thursday and friday), when Stephen and I will be camping in Aspen to see Ben Harper and Nickel Creek in concert. We planned this months ago.

Jump down to the second row and follow the little pills all the way to the end. Second to the last pill (September 8th) is my 22nd birthday. 3 months ago I insisted that we stay here AT LEAST until I had celebrated my birthday with my family. Sunday my parents are throwing a going-away party for us and my dad is frantically trying to finish a painting project he's been working on nonchalantly for a long time.

Next row. Pill number 3 is my last day at work. Pills 4-7 I'll be cleaning and packing and crying. Sunday I'm singing on the worship team for the very last time at the church I've been in since I was 10 years old.

And now, the last row. Pill number 2 is Stephen's last day. Third pill in this row is moving day. My dad and sister are going to spend pills 3-5 driving down to our new house with us and helping us get settled. By the last two pills of this pack, I'll be living in South Carolina. If we could jump to the next pack, we'd see Amy and my Dad flying back home on the second pill, and me being in transition for 26 more pills.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It sucks.

Since the move is imminent, I decided yesterday to tell the other receptionist who runs the desk with me (Sandi), and my manager. They'll need time to replace me and I just couldn't hold it in anymore. I really enjoy the other receptionist and felt guilty not telling her. We have a lot of fun together.

This morning I came in and within half an hour 4 people asked me about moving. I never asked Sandi to keep it quiet- I always assume pople understand my need for privacy and operate on the same standards, but people never do. Sandi is outgoing and loves to talk and is really sad to see me go, and I think she talked toeveryone in our office about it.

All day people drifted past the the front desk, casually prying into a subject which is simultanesouly devastating and exhilerating to me; it is deeply personal. They don't mean anything by it, it's just conversation, confirming office gossip, but I'm overwhelmed already and the last thing I need is to answer the same questions over and over all day.

"Yeah, it's a really great career oportunity..."
"We'll be closer to our little nephews..."
"My husband's family is down there, so at least we'll know people..."
"Of course, it's bittersweet..."
"Yes, South Carolina IS very pretty..."

It all sounds so hollow. What I keep wanting to say is that it's none of your goddamn business, and get out of my face. I believe intellectually in the joy I'll experience eventually, but I feel nothing but sorrow. I'm confused like I've been adrift at sea for weeks and I can't tell what's right or left or up or down anymore.

I went to the doctor today and told the receptionist we were moving in about a month when she asked me to schedule my next checkup. She said, "Oh, cool. That will be fun!" I wanted to pound my fists on her desk and yell at everyone in the lobby. "WHY DOES EVERYONE KEEP SAYING THAT?!?!?! Look at my eyes and tell me again!"

Then the doctor asked me to schedule a vaccine, and I had to tell her that I won't be here long enough to receive the full series. When asked about our reasons for leaving, I gave one of my standard answers, "My husband's family lives down there." She asked where my family lives, and I told her how I'm a fifth generation Colorado native, and that almost all my family is here still. She responds, "Wow, that sounds hard for you." Understatement of the century. I'm mourning and grieving and weeping inside. I want someone to mourn with me, to look me in the eyes and say something sincere. To hell with "good luck". Good luck doensn't mean anything. I want to know that my heart is understood. Someone tell me it DOES suck, and it IS painful, and it's HARD to see how beauty will come of my ashes.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Let me summarize the last few weeks thus:

I got in a fender bender, my fault.

Our deductible is $1000.

The auto-body shop is going to have my car for 2-3 weeks and Stephen and I have one car left between us, so I have to learn to drive a stick shift and it's frustrating.

It's beginning to sink in that we're moving in 2 months. All I'm going to have is Stephen, Moses, and Stephen's family (who I enjoy, but it's not the same as having my family).

I've been pissed off at God for a few weeks and I didn't talk to Him for a while. Now I'm entering a period of getting very real with Him. It's a long story.

I've been battling depression and losing. I'm depressed because we're in debt and we have to pay 1000 bucks for my stupid mistake, and because soon I'm leaving everything I know and love and I'm afraid to be alone, and because it's really, really hard to live without God and I'm completed exhausted from trying to pull myself out of bed everyday.

So, I'm sorry to everyone who reads my blog. I've been a little preoccupied and I haven't been writing because I've reasoned that you probably don't want to read about the shit, you want to read the funny sarcastic stuff I usually write. But I keep trying and I can't write anything genuine that's good and happy and funny right now. So I'm just going to write about the shit because it's making me sick to internalize it. If you want to read about it, keep coming back. Maybe along the way I'll discover something good about the last month; a sparkle in the waste.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Adventures in coffee

When I worked downtown, it was hard to walk a block without seeing some kind of coffee shop. It was even harder not to go into said coffee shop for a drink. If it was warm out, I would convince myself that nothing could be finer than an iced coffee and sweet syrupy beverage; if it was cold, I would justify that the thing I really needed was a piping hot espresso or chocolate concoction. I should do commercials for Starbucks.

But since I got my new job, I haven't had that same luxury. Along my drive and near my office there's not a single conveniently located Starbucks, Peaberry's, or little independently owned coffee shop. I can't just drop in, I have to go well out of my way and leave for work at least 15 minutes earlier than usual.

The other day I decided not to take the highway and saw, to my great delight, a Peaberry's. I said to myself, "Myself, a small iced americano is just exactly what you need to start your day off right." So I went in and ordered my usual a small(taking care to designate it as a small, not a tall) iced americano with room. Any coffee elitist knows that just the perfect amount of heavy whipping cream elevates this beverage from an iced espresso drink to a little piece of heaven on earth.

Thus, when the barista delivered my drink onto the table and called out it's name (as they do) despite the fact that I'm the only one in the store and I'm standing right there, I requested heavy whipping cream and was met with an incredulous "What?".

"Heavy whipping cream," I repeated. She looked at me like I had a green face. "You know, to put in the drink..." I offered, now unsure of myself. She reached for the whipped cream, and I waved it away with my hands. "You don't have heavy whipping cream?" I asked, in disbelief.

"We have half-and-half," she suggested, indicating the serve-yourself table full of sugar packets and stir-straws.

"But... no heavy whipping cream?" I waved my hands around uncertainly hoping to convey exactly what I meant by heavy whipping cream, in case the words hadn't quite communicated my desire clearly. She shrugged. I suited myself to a few packets of raw sugar and some milk, and it was the worst Americano I've ever had. I ended up throwing most of it out and my mouth tasted like ass all morning.

The moral of my story is this: don't try to order anything at Peaberry's if you're cherishing any hopes of adding heavy whipping cream to it, because they just don't have any.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Father's Day

These are the two most important men in my life. Stephen and my dad (it should be obvious which one is which).

Sunday is father's day. According to the commericals I start to see around father's day every year, what my dad wants is
a) a tie
b) an electric razor
c) a phone
d) golf stuff
e) tasteless ugly clothing from Sears or something

But my father
a) doesn't wear ties and doesn't really know how to tie one very well anyway
b) has a razor, and giving a guy a razor as a present make you the biggest douchebag ever
c) has a phone and always leaves it in the car and can't remember his voicemail password
d) doesn't play golf
e) is tall and thin and hard to shop for, and a pair of fugly ass jean shorts just doesn't say "I love you and appreciate all the sacrifices you've made so I could have the opportunities I've had", despite what the commercials say.

My dad is a rocket scientist (seriously) and a drummer- he's brilliant but forgetful, practical and systematic, and he has a dark sense of humor. He doesn't like organized sports, hence my superbowl post, but I got my passion for hiking and skiing and being in the mountains from him.

He can always depend on a bar or two of dark chocolate for birthdays, christmas, etc. He eats this chocolate bar piece by tiny piece over a period of a few weeks and if you take even a secret nibble of his precious chocolate he'll notice. But chocolate doesn't seem like quite enough this year.

I suppose I'm reaching an age where I can be friends with my dad. I'm finding out about all the things he did for our family that went unnoticed in my childhood ignorance. I'm enjoying his company even more. He's an honorable, faithful man who's always provided for me, loved me, and encouraged me. He and I are very close and we have a great relationship, but we didn't used to. The healing and restoration God had done between us is beyond words. How can a chocolate bar convey that?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Crazy Maxine

I don't even know where to start with Maxine. She walked into my office this morning and I had a terrible sense of foreboding the minute I saw her.

(I work at a computer learning center now and we do classes for all kinds of programs and certifications.)

I was already aggravated because my keyboard won't connect to my computer, and my company cancelled a class without contacting the students to tell them. People keep coming in for the class- I'm standing awkwardly next to the desk while one of the instructors crawls UNDER the desk, messing with wiring, and there's only so much apologizing I can do for the incompetency of other people and still sound genuine.

So Maxine announces the class she's here for. I tell her the class has been cancelled. Maxine freaks out. I look at the roster. Her name is not on it, which I inform her. "ExCUSE me." she says as she shoves a piece of paper toward me with a bunch of course titles on it. This paper neither proves nor disproves her enrollment. She calls her sales rep. I'm finally able to get on the computer and I pull up the system for student enrollments. I call her over.

Me: Your paper here shows 15 different courses. Our system only shows you enrolled for 3, as you can see...
Crazy Maxine: I'm enrolled for this class :::points at paper:::
Me: Well, I'm not sure why it says that... You're NOT enrolled, see? You're name isn't in the class roster and the class isn't on your account.
Crazy Maxine: Well, who's going to reimburse me for the gas I spent getting here? I drove half an hour.
Me: Well, the problem is that you're not actually enrolled in the class-
Crazy Maxine: Nobody called to tell me it was cancelled. I want to be reimbursed.
Me: Nobody called you because our system doesn't show your name in the class- you're not signed up for this course.

This goes on for a good 10 minutes and concludes with Maxine declaring "I'm not leaving till' I get reimbursed." She calls her rep again, who puts her through to her manager, who puts her through to their manager. They tell her they can't reimburse her for the gas, as she's not enrolled in the class. She puts it on speaker phone. She says, "I'm here for a class. What am I supposed to do now?" The manager says, "Well, what you do now is really up to you... the class is cancelled..." Long story short, she stays in my lobby for an hour and 45 minutes throwing a series of fits, like a 4 year old that hasn't gotten her way. She switches between calling the manager and hassling me.

Then another student shows up for the class, REALLY late. Maxine says, "It's ridiculous. I'm fighting them on this. I'm getting my gas reimbursed. You should do the same thing!", like we're communists and she's a noble capitalist, alone on her quest for justice. The other student heartily agrees. I think about throwing the candy bowl at Maxine's head. She and the other student exchange numbers and even hug each other in the hallway. They trade horror stories about the drive (detours, traffic, gas prices! Oh, the humanity!). The other student leaves, having joined the revolution, with high and lofty hopes of gas reimbursement.

Maxine returns to my desk to re-issue her request for gas reimbursement for the 20th time. I tell her I can't help her. Maxine repeats "Well, I'm here for class. What should I do?" I repress suggesting she take a walk on the interstate. Maxine calls the manager again and finally leaves, walking (hopefully) out of my life forever.

Maybe I'll write a song about her. Insolent, self-entitled, crazy Maxine.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Stayin Alive

Holy Crap. I've been gone for a while- not actually gone, just mentally gone.

I started a new job a few weeks ago- I'm an actual employee (not a contractor like before), and it's great. I only work till' 1 but I'm always really busy, so my blogging-at-work freedom is no more. I thought having my afternoons off would give me time to blog, but I'm always doing chores or being outside. After spending my morning on a computer, I'm not especially drawn to get back on my laptop at home.

However, this week I am working full-time hours filling in at one of our company's other offices, and I'm bored bored bored. BORED, I tell you! So I decided to blog. I tried to sign on and I got an error message about cookies. Seeing as how my cookies usually burn, I decided not to pursue the issue but rather to try and sneak into blogger without the cookies finding out by signing in on a comments page instead of a main page, which worked somehow, but is entirely beside the point. So, here I am. Alive, and doing OK.

I've been in sort of a dark place lately. After much prayer and discussion (and crying, all by me), Stephen and I have decided to move away from Denver. He's going to join his dad's business, so by the end of the year, we'll be living 1500 miles away from everything I know and love.

I'm torn about it. I know in my heart of hearts that this is the right decision for us and that God is definately leading us to take this course. But I grew up in Denver and I always thought I would raise my kids there. I like just getting in my car and being in the mountains in under an hour. I like living 10 minutes away from my parents. This is my home- I'm heartbroken about leaving. I lost sleep for 2 or 3 nights after we first talked about it, but now I have a peace. But that doesn't mean I'm happy about it. It's been pretty heavy on my mind, and that's mostly why I haven't posted lately.

Anyway, now that I know how to trick my computer into letting me blog at work, I'll probably post more today and tomorrow. I'm so BORED!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Careers I have seriously considered, am still considering, or have pursued:

  1. Early Childhood Education Teacher
  2. College History, English, or Theology Professor
  3. Artist
  4. Graphic Designer
  5. One of those people who sets up the window displays at Barnes and Noble
  6. Editor
  7. Singer/Songwriter
  8. Recording Artist
  9. Just plain writer
  10. Tattoo Artist
  11. Owner of a Flower Shop
  12. Chef
  13. Race Car Driver
  14. Stunt Car Driver
  15. Climb Everest (OK, it's not really a career, but I've always wanted to do it)
  16. Mountaineering Expedition Leader?
  17. Interior Designer
  18. Stay at Home Mom
  19. Model
  20. Astronomer
  21. Cosmetologist
  22. Massage Therapist
  23. Psychologist
  24. Missionary (to someplace in Asia/South America)
  25. Clothing Designer
  26. Any job at Google (I'm always trying to figure out if there's a way to make this happen because it would be SO GROOVY to work at Google.)
  27. Fitness Trainer
  28. Bartender

Lack of direction, much? I have no idea what I want to do. Number 18 is the only one I'm entirely sure about.

Here are a few jobs that I don't think I would be good at:

  1. Electrician
  2. Mathematician (I have troubles with simple addition)
  3. Professional Speaker (Why is this different than recording artist? I'd rather eat worms than speak in front of a large group of people, but I'm completely comfortable singing in front of them. WHY?)
  4. Politician of any kind (I have too much integrity for politics, which is to say, I have some integrity, which is too much for politics)
  5. Lawyer (see previous)
  6. Linebacker
  7. VJ
  8. DJ
  9. Matchmaker
  10. Watchmaker
  11. Bird Watcher
  12. Bob Ross
  13. Mob Boss
  14. That dude from MTV- what's his name? The guy from jackass, and he has his own show now. You know who I'm talking about.
  15. Advice Columnist
  16. Exotic Dancer (I can barely stand in heels- how could I dance in them? Answer: awkwardly.)
  17. Your Company's Computer Guy
  18. Bouncer
  19. Accountant
  20. Receptionist (.......)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Since I have to let people in because our doors are locked now, I thought it would be interesting to keep track of how many times I got up. In the first hour of my work day, I got up 12 times. I lost count around lunch but I think the total is 47 or 48. And 47 or 48 times, I've feigned a chuckle (in a progressively less convincing manner) to variations on the following jokes/comments: (What I wanted to say. My actual answer.)

You sure are getting your exercise!
Are you calling me fat? You insensitive, chauvinist pig! :::cries::: Haha, yeah.
Wow, that must be inconvenient for you.
You're damn right it is! Thanks for pointing it out! Haha, yeah.
Keeping the riff-raff out, huh?
I don't know how you slipped past me. Don't make me call the cops. Haha, yeah.
Don't you like me?
Come to think of it, no. Not at all, in fact. Hahaha.
What's wrong with the door?
What's wrong with your face? We're keeping it locked for security reasons.
Don't they have a button for you to open the door?
Frickin A! Of course not! No.

But they finally did get me a button, basically in time for me to start my other job. Thanks, guys. 'Preciate it. They also thought it necessary to get a phone for our lobby so on the rare occasion that I leave the desk for a moment and someone happens to come up to the doors, they can call someone. This is a good idea in theory. However, our security guy (an ex-FBI agent) decided it would be better for the phone to automatically ring the phone on my desk. Which means the visitor who is stuck in the lobby because I'm not at my desk to let them in can call... me... at my desk... while I'm in the bathroom. FBI, whatever. No one has ever accused our government of having common sense.

But I don't want to complain.



I guess I can't think of anything else to talk about, then. Aren't I just a bundle of spring flowers?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I am not alone

Look at It, Sitting There in That Box, Plotting, Plotting...

Man: Styrofoam... Just thinking of it sends chills up and down my spine. Man, I hate that stuff.

Overheard by: aaron

via Overheard Everywhere, Apr 15, 2007

Monday, May 07, 2007

Now our card reading system is completely down. If I wasn't quitting before, I sure would now.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Today, the first Thursday of May, is the National Day of Prayer. Congress defined this day as a day when "all Americans, regardless of faith, are asked to come together and pray in their own way". I think it's very cool, in light of a few recent tragedies in this country, and given that I firmly believe in the power of prayer. I also think it's a lovely way to bring together different denominations and even different religions, if it's approached the right way. I see it as an opportunity to cultivate peace and unity.

Additionally, today is celebrated by many atheists, agnostics, and secularists as the National Day of Reason. says this is "an appropriate response to the... annual abuse of the constitution (National Day of Prayer)". In order to "effect positive change", celebrators of this day donate blood. I think this is very cool because it's a practical thing to do that benefits real people. You often hear people talking about their good will, but less often you see people actually demonstrating altruism.

Maybe you've noticed the new book I'm reading, The Language of God by Francis S. Collins. Collins is a born-again Christian, a converted skeptic, and as a renowned physician and geneticist, Collins was also the leader of the Human Genome Project (which was completed in 2003). His book has provided a fascinating perspective for me- raised as an agnostic, Collins didn't develop any sort of religious belief at all until he was a med student and encountered a woman whose faith gave her hope even though her cancer would take her life in a matter of months. Collins became aware of his total ignorance on the subject of faith and decided to find out the truth for himself, eventually becoming a Christian. For Collins, facts came before faith.

Faith and spirituality have always been a part of my life. I was raised in a wholly Christian family, going to church every Sunday since I can remember. I was a ninth grader when I decided that 'my parent's religion' just didn't do it for me, and I sought out other faiths like Buddhism, Hinduism, and Wicca, ultimately coming to the conclusion that none of them filled the emptiness inside me. Eventually, after a period of hopelessness, I realized that Jesus satisfied that longing and suddenly He was my own, not just my parent's. But science has never been something I've sought out. I'm a feeler more than an analyzer. For me, faith came before facts. But now I'm becoming aware of my staggering ignorance in most fields of science.

You see, Collins is a firm believer not only in Jesus and His work on the cross, but in the theory of evolution. Some of you Christians out there probably cringe at the idea, just like I did. The average Christian is raised to vehemently oppose evolution- Darwin is a name nearly on par with Hitler, and the man who expresses an adherence to his works is thought to be blaspheming. But Collins presents a good case for it and reconciles his scientific convictions with his spiritual ones in a way that is clear and sensible. Since when did Reason and Faith become mortal enemies? Why does there have to be so much enmity between Intellectualism and Salvation? How did Science and Theology become polar opposites?

In any case, I am done believing things because I heard my pastor or my dad or my Sunday school teacher say it. I don't want to be an ignorant person, blindly staking claim on things I don't understand, taking a zealous stand on things I've never even tried to understand. After all, the Earth turned out to be a round body which revolves around the sun. The Church was ready to throw Galileo in prison 375 years ago, but his discoveries are now undisputed by the religious and secular alike. I am a Christian and a reasonable person, and I intend to learn what I can so I can make informed decisions that are compatible with both my faith and my intelligence. As Collins puts it in Language, "A believer need not fear that this investigation will dethrone the divine; if God is truly Almighty, He will hardly be threatened by our puny efforts to understand the workings of His natural world."

I didn't realize this morning that today was the Day of Prayer or Reason, but I'll be praying today (really, shouldn't I be praying every day?), and I plan on giving blood, if not today then tomorrow.

Happy Day of Prayer and Reason!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

We had our first married fight.

It happened during the biological and emotional hurricane women politely refer to as "that time of the month", so things didn't look good for Stephen from the outset.

It should have been a simple resolution.

"It hurt my feelings when you did that, because of the following reasons."
"I'm sorry. I didn't realize. I won't do that again."
"Thanks. I'm sorry I didn't tell you that in the first place."
"That's ok."

That's how it normally goes, when I possess the ability to coherently communicate my thoughts and feelings. But we went in circles, accomplishing nothing, for at least an hour. The whole thing was ridiculous. By the time we stopped, I couldn't really remember what we were talking about.

Stephen said he felt like he was trying to dismantle a bomb. So the new rule about arguing while I'm TMSing is:

Step 1: Cautiously offer me chocolate. (cheese also is an acceptable peace offering)
Step 2: Suggest a bath. Light candles. (optional)
Step 3: Get the hell out of the house for at least an hour.
Step 4: Return to a relaxed and less volatile Rachel who probably will have appreciated your thoughtfulness, realized her own error, and likely will apologize immediately.
Step 5: Make up.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Rachel Facts

Here is my response to Beth's open-ended tag-post. Seven little-known facts about me:

1. I have to keep my food organized on my plate. For example, if I'm eating rice, chicken, and salad, each of those three things will be separated on my plate by a minimum of 3/4 an inch. I'll constantly push the rice back into a neat pile and try desperately to keep the salad dressing from spreading. And while most people will declare themselves finished while there is still 7 grains of rice, a cucumber slice, and a tiny shred of chicken left on their plate, I literally eat every bit, unless I decide I can't finish, in which case I will leave my unfinished food in their respective sections.

2. When the clock reads 1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, or 5:55, I kiss the wall and make a wish. This is a compulsive thing- I can't help it, though I have learned how to make it a bit more discreet. I will often kiss the tips of the first two fingers on my right hand and touch the wall (or window, if I'm driving), but I have to hold my fingers on the wall for a few extra seconds in order to make up for it not being an actual kiss. The wall behind my desk at work has little grubby fingerprints on it.

3. If I'm playing solitaire and someone points out a move I could make, I have to end that game immediately and begin a new one.

4. I cannot stand to have my belly button touched. Being poked in my belly button or in it's general vicinity makes me feel like throwing up. Stephen nearly learned this the hard way when he playfully poked my stomach and accidentally caught me directly in the belly button. We were at the airport on our way home from the disastrous tropical leg of our honeymoon. Thankfully, I didn't vomit, but everything about my face must have indicated that I was about to because Stephen backed up pretty quick.

5. I need both sides of my body to be balanced. I mostly notice this when I'm being forced to stand still, waiting in a line or something. I start to feel like I'm putting more weight on my left foot than on my right, so I shift to my right foot, but then that side feels heavier, and I just drive myself crazy trying to achieve a balance.

6. I cannot burp. At all. The closest I can get to a burp is a sort of gurgling noise. Furthermore, this matter has always distressed me. I greatly desire this ability which God saw fit not to bless me with. First, it is a gastronomic relief (or so I have heard). But mostly, it is funny.

7. Loathe. Detest. Abhor. I can't find words strong enough to fully describe the way I feel about packing styrofoam. The noise it makes, the way it feels on your hands... I got goosebumps just writing that. In short, it gives me the jibblies.

A special note: blogger's spell check does not like the word jibblies, but it offers wobblies as a possible substitute. According to Miriam-Webster:
Wobbly is a noun meaning: a member of the Industrial Workers of the World


Wedding Pictures!

Ok, here's the deal. The professional photos we got for our wedding and reception are posted on a personal page on our photographers website. I could post that link here, but I feel funny about making my very intimate wedding day images public to any and all freaks and creeps who may stumble onto my blog. But I want to share them, so if you want to see the pictures, just shoot me an email and if I know who you are I'll reply back with the link. Easy!

In case the link doesn't work:

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Bane of My Workday

I got a new job. It's much closer to home, great hours, and about the same pay. It's a smallish company, rather than an international corporation. I gave my 2 weeks notice and, but I'm beginning to feel like I made a mistake. I should have just quit my current job, effective immediately, so I could have been working at this new company today.

Let me explain the situation, here. The Oil & Gas Company I work for occupies 4 floors in a high-rise. All the doors are locked except the main doors in front of my desk, which unlock in the morning and lock again in the evening. Everyone has access cards to get around, but the people on my floor are used to not needing them and therefore don't carry them (or don't know where they are). We recently installed a new card reading system which:

1) was very expensive
2) will be obsolete when we move buildings in a few months
3) didn't frickin work at all for the first week and a half
4) necessitated the creation and distribution of new access cards for the several hundred employees who office in the building


1) meant nothing to me. They obviously have enough money to cover it.
2) is just stupid
3) I had to listen to everyone whine and complain because they had to get off the elevator at reception and take one flight of stairs to get to their own floor because their cards don't work, etc. I would have helpfully offered that they could use the exercise but it occurred to me that this may not actually be considered helpful by the recipient of such a well-intentioned comment. It would have been funny, though.
4) was the biggest inconvenience ever.

Now, the aftermath. Some people do not know how to use email and thus have not received the 5 or 6 emails I have sent reminding them to pick up their cards (Is this difficult? Walk down the hall to my desk and I'll just hand you the card. It's that easy, guys.). Many of the cards which have already been distributed have not been activated, forcing me to track down these individuals and obtain a tiny 5 digit number from the card so it can be activated. My own cards have supposedly been "activated" at least 3 times, but I think office services is lying to me.

In a stroke of brilliance, the company has seen fit to issue a new policy: My main lobby doors are to remain locked during business hours.

I'll repeat that. From now on, the main lobby doors stay locked during business hours. It's a ridiculous policy, in my opinion, but I'll get over it. The thing that I hate is how I have to get up and open the doors every time someone needs to get in, ie, every 2 minutes. This looks unprofessional and, more importantly, is extremely inconvenient for me. If I'm opening the door and the phone rings, I miss the call. If I'm answering the phone and someone comes to the doors, they just sit there and wait, gazing at me with a expression of hurt, looking through the glass like orphans at a candy shop store front, longing to go inside but knowing that they'll never be able to.

Furthermore, I'm having to tell everyone the same thing, over and over. "Sorry, but you have to carry your cards with you now. It's [my stupid company] policy to keep these doors locked during business hours. And no, I don't know why." I hate repeating myself, especially when there's a sign on the door that says the same thing. What I'm thinking is; "Are you illiterate, fool?!? (gestures wildly at sign) Now begone, with you! Your endless questions and accusations are as a poison to my soul! (weeps)" All that to say, I can't get out of here fast enough.

In other news, I got my hair cut yesterday and it's really cute. I'd promise to post a picture, but we all know I can't be trusted. But I have figured out HOW to post pictures from the camera. It's all about the WHEN now, so I promise I'll do it... sometime... in the future. You know, whenever. Eventually, ish.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Our Pot Dealer

Stephen and I were not engaged for very long. 5 months, ish. But somehow, they found out.

I probably filled out some form on a bridal website, and soon my yahoo email was completely filled with "special offers" and "not junk email" from legitimate and shady companies alike (them). One shady company that somehow got ahold of my info is Royal Prestige (Please, click the link. The opening montage of women dancing with cookware is not to be missed). I got a voicemail one day from a mumbly woman with the tonal expression, personality, and enthusiasm of a slug.

"Good afternoon, Andrea. This is *mumbling* calling from *mumbling*. You and your husband, er, fiancee, have won a vacation *mumbling* a shopping spree for 1000 dollars. That's right, 1000 dollars. Please call *barely discernable phone number* to redeem your prize. Thank you, uhh... Oh, I'm sorry, Rachel. Thank you Rachel."

Great. So I called and got the same woman who left the voicemail. No surprise, she sounded exactly the same live as she did on a voicemail.
Me: "How did I win?"
Gastropod: "We drew your name at random and-"
Me: "No, I mean I didn't sign up for a contest. How did I win?"
Gastropod: "*mumbling*" (I decide to let it go. I can't understand her anyway)
Me: "Ok, so what's the catch? You're not just giving away vacations, here."
Gastropod: "We do ask that you come to a cookware presentation. There's no obligation to buy. You can schedule it *mumbling* at the Marriott."
Me: Alright, fine.

So that was that. We went to the presentation and these pots and pans were pretty amazing. Non-porous metal. Heats quickly and evenly. Won't burn food. Retains moisture and all the vitamins and minerals found in your food. A healthy, easy, effective cooking system. Lifetime guarantee. The lids are rigged with a little spring encased in a hard plastic that whistle when your food reaches a certain temperature (the highest temperature at which said vitamins and minerals are retained). So we bought them and got out free vacation deal. The "1000 dollar shopping spree" turned out to be an online coupon to be used for bridal party gifts and the like (we didn't use it).

We got our pans, and we were so excited. Very soon after using them we discovered they didn't work quite the same way as we were led to believe, be it due to the actual crappiness of the cookware, or the crappiness of our range, or both. The took half an hour to heat up. The nifty little plastic whistle springs kept melting. They burned our food like crazy. In short, these pans suck.

Last night I stuck the large pan on the stove to heat up for the required ridiculous amount of time so I could boil noodles for dinner. I stuck the lid on, otherwise it takes even longer. I sat on the couch and watched the Simpsons. Stephen got home, and we both noticed a smell. Coming from the kitchen. Like burning plastic.

The little plastic whistle had melted AGAIN, and burned onto the bottom of the pot, and I opened the lid, and black smoke poured from the pan like someone was doing voodoo inside it. We were both running around breathing through the collars of our shirts, hacking and coughing, trying to open doors and windows and keep the smoke away from the smoke detector. I got the pot outside and put it on the grill and poured water in it so it would stop smoking. At this point I noticed the inside of our pan was rainbow colored, like an oil stain in a parking lot. That's not natural.

Neither of us could breathe in the house so we turned on all the fans and left the windows open and went out to dinner. When we got back the air had cleared, but now our large pot has melted plastic in the bottom of it and I'm pretty sure we both inhaled some toxic fumes. Plus, we missed The Office because we couldn't stay in the house.

So I'd like to say a big F*** YOU to Royal Prestige.


I have only 3 letters to share this morning:



Wednesday, April 25, 2007

We left the next morning. As we were walking back and forth, trying to finalize everything, we were approached numerous times by RCI agents and I was proud of Stephen for "just saying no". They took forever trying to refund our food money so we sat in the lobby joking about warning away the arriving visitors; "Run, while you still can! Get out, if you know what's good for you! Don't eat the sausage!" All in all, we only stayed one full day, and less than 48 hours total.

Stephen wanted to buy some quality cigars for himself and one of his groomsmen so we asked the taxi driver if we could stop. Taxi Man drove past several gift shops and a building labeled "Cigar Factory" before stopping in front of his buddy's shop. Stephen was expecting a great deal like a friend of his had gotten, a box of 25 Cohibas for 30 bucks (Cohibas sell for $25 a piece stateside). The shop owner showed us a box of 25 for 125 bucks, not the deal we were hoping for. Finally he showed us a box of 10 for 60 bucks. We checked our money. We had 34 dollars between us. We had also gotten pesos, just enough to pay our driver. I handed him the 34 dollars. He counted it.

Shop Owner: It's not enough. (points at box) 60.
Me: Oh, Ok. Well, Sorry. (reaches for money in his hand)
SO: (yanks hand back) Well, maybe I give it to you for 50.
Stephen: Sorry, that's all we have. 34. (reaches for money again)
SO: (withdrawing money again) Well... maybe, 40? You got 40?
Me: no, no, that's ALL our Money. 34.
SO: You get rest in pesos, yeah? Driver brings extra back to me, ok?
Me: We don't have enough.
Stephen: We have enough to pay our driver. We don't have extra.
SO: Oh, yeah, ok. You just give the rest in pesos, ok? Taxi Driver will bring back to me, yeah?
(This repeats itself 3 or 4 times. SO even gets a calculator to show how many pesos we should send back to him. Stephen explains that a friend found them for much cheaper, and the SO offers helpfully that "that not the real thing".)
ME: Ok, we got enough pesos to pay the taxi for taking us to the airport, and NO MORE. 34 Dollars, that's IT.
Stephen: That's all we have.

When the guy realized it was 34 bucks or nothin, he reluctantly let the box of cigars go for a reduced (yeah, right) price. Stephen jokes about how we had to pay $70 to the cab driver; "If your buddy wants to share some of HIS money with you, that's fine, but we're NOT giving you ANY EXTRA MONEY." The cool thing about this Taxi Man, though, was that he listened to great music. When a new song came on he would tap at his radio and announce "Salsa" or "Meringue", and maybe dance a little, to further indicate what kind of music it was. We even heard a Shakira song.

We had to pay $100 each to change our flight, which, as it turned out, was less than they were supposed to charge us. It took them at least half an hour to charge our card (this is typical in the D. R., we decided) and we took off around 3.

We got to Atlanta and were supposed to fly out at 8:15. We got Qdoba (which was such a delight after the food we ate at the resort) and went to wait at our gate, 45 minutes early. I began to realize just how terrible my legs really looked. Only the tops of my thighs and knees were burned. People are often prone to use hyperbole when describing sunburn: "I was bright red!" People, I am not exaggerating here: RED is exactly the color of the tops of my thighs and knees. RED. As in, Red Lobster. Red Fire Engine. Red Tomato. Red Rachel.

I talked to my dad and reported the situation, and he reserved a nice place in Estes Park for us. So Stephen and I got to talking and lost track of time. Suddenly, I wondered why they weren't boarding yet. My clock said 8:11. Now, this is the icing on the bad honeymoon cake: apparently, they changed the gate without making an announcement, and we had to get from Terminal E to Terminal A in 4 minutes. I can only imagine that we were quite the spectacle running down the walkways, both wearing brown shorts and light blue shirts. Stephen told me just to get to the gate as fast as I could and he'd wait for me. Stephen used to be a runner, and he looked pretty cool dodging between people at a full run. I, as you should know, would rather wrestle a grizzly bear than run a quarter mile, and I made a pathetic show of trying to keep up, panting so hard I'm in tears. Pretend you're walking down terminal A, when a dude in brown in blue darts past you with a hurried, "excuse me!" Just when you're recovering from the surprise, you have an odd sense of de ja vu, except this time it's a woman who looks like she's about to pass out and whose thighs are bright red on the front and white on the back.

We weren't the only ones to miss the flight, which I suppose can be expected when you fail to announce a gate change. We got a different flight about and hour and a half later and got home past midnight after paying a cab almost 30 dollars to drive us literally 3 minutes to the friends house where our car was parked. And let me tell you, there's nothing more romantic than coming home to a tiny, slightly fusty apartment which is absolutely packed with wedding gifts, and suddenly remembering that the bed has no sheets on it because they are in the washing machine.

We spent the next three nights at a cabin in Estes Park that had a kitchen and a hot tub in very suite. It's a modest little place with typical mountainy decor (pine cones, elk, hardwood, etc.) that could best be described as "cute" (which is GREAT), but our resort in the D.R. made this place look positively glamorous. We did dinners, a wine tasting, shopping, horseback riding, and just chilling out. We got the chance to reflect on the tropical disaster we'd survived, and decided that the honeymoon was, on the whole, a success. Stephen told a friend, "If honeymoons are for getting to know each other really well and facing adversity together, we had the best honeymoon ever."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The next day started innocently enough. Shower. Try to do something with my unruly hair. Get dressed. Head to breakfast. Eat a mediocre meal. Stephen suggests we try this weird tea that sort of smells like like a porta-potty when you put the bag in hot water so I don't drink it.

Unbeknownst to us, the bracelets we were wearing in order to gain access to the many all-inclusive benefits available to us at this fabulous resort were given to us with a secret purpose. Ours were gold colored, making us clearly identifiable as non-members of the timeshare, RCI. So RCI hires guys to just sort of wander around the resort, near the cafeteria and the bar areas, waiting to snag non-members such as ourselves in order to lure them away to a meeting with an RCI agent. They offer promises of a "free gift" and "tour".

We were surprised when one stuck himself directly in our way as we left the cafeteria that morning, shoved his hand out in the typical American handshake greeting (which is very unnatural for Dominicans), and said "Hello!!" far too enthusiastically.

Us: Uhh, hi... (we both shake his hand)
Him: My name is something something and where are you from???
Stephen: We're from Colorado. (I'm sceptical. I'm not saying anything.)
Him: something... work for RCI... something?
Stephen: What?
Him: I'm a guy who works for RCI... something come to a meeting this morning? Something free gift for you. Invitation something in your welcome packet.
(We exchange puzzled glances)
Stephen: I don't think we got a welcome packet. Anyway, we just finished eating, so...
Him: Well maybe you just come round this way tomorrow around 9, yes?
Stephen: Sure, we'll be here all week. We'll stop by. (Lies)

Really the conversation was longer than that but I was so confused by a) his accent, b) his affected enthusiasm, c) the fact that Stephen kept talking to him even after it became obvious that he was just hustling us, and I don't remember it word for word. The thing is, when Stephen was in the D.R. the first time, he was just hanging out with regular people who were genuine and nice and honest, so every time we talked to one of these guys, he was waiting for a sparkle of honesty somewhere in their fakey insincere demeanor, but it never happened.

After that we decided to chill on the beach and read. We put sunscreen on, changed into swimsuits and headed out. At the bar another RCI guy spotted us. He told us we wanted a Puerto Plata tour (which we would get if we went to the meeting, I guess). Stephen said "No, we don't." The guy said, "I think you do, you want a tour..." I decided to crush this man's efforts once and for all by interjecting, "We don't want a tour. We're on our honeymoon. We're getting drinks and towels and going to the beach. Goodbye." I took Stephen by the hand and left the guy mumbling after us.

We had a great afternoon at the beach, while it lasted. I drank a little more than I should have considering the heat and the fact that I hadn't eaten or drank much water. We played in the ocean for a while but we both hurt our feet and got out (Stephen tripped and cut his foot, I stepped on something and got a splinter thing in the ball of my foot). We went back to the hotel room and took a nap. Honestly the rest of the afternoon and evening is a complete blur to me because I came down with food poisoning. I think I told Stephen I was dizzy and I think he helped me walk with him to the cafeteria hoping I just needed to eat. I took a pile of lettuce and some rice and ate 2 or 3 of the pieces of lettuce. The smell of all that food made me feel even more queasy and Stephen must have decided I needed to go back to the room. I felt a little better after throwing up in the bushes but Stephen made me take Pepto Bismol when I started to feel sick again.

By this time I had an impressive sunburn revealing itself on my back, shoulders, chest, stomach, thighs, and scalp, despite the fact that I had sunscreen on. So I'm dizzy, too burned to move, can't walk on one foot (reference my injury diagram, above), and can't walk at all on the slippery hotel room floor. Stephen went to buy some aloe vera but returned fuming when he discovered the outrageous prices. I think that's when he decided he wanted to go home. I decided when I was retching in the bushes. Enough is enough!

Monday, April 23, 2007

I don't know where to begin with our first afternoon (Monday afternoon) at the resort. After we shelled out seventy dollars for Speedy's cab ride, it got crap, crappy, and crappier.

crappy thing 1: They overcharged us by one day for the all-inclusive food deal. Not a huge deal, but it took 20 or 30 minutes for them to put $80 back on the card.

crappy thing 2: We walked into our suite and into the bedroom and saw 2 twin beds. Let me say it again: TWO. BEDS. Separated by a bedside table. Think I Love Lucy- but I bet even Lucy and Ricky shared a bed on their honeymoon. Seriously? 2 tiny beds? ?!?!? Come on, Luperon Beach Resort. That sucks.

crappy thing 3: The floors in our suite were all tile. This means that within 5 minutes of opening the windows and balcony doors, the humidity made the floors completely wet and slippery. This led us to discover a functional use for the superfluous bed: the comforter was spread out on the floor as a rug so we wouldn't slip and break ourselves.

crappy thing 4: The beach. I was thrilled and overjoyed it because the only other time I've seen the ocean (aside from when I was too young to remember) was when Stephen proposed to me in South Carolina. The prospect of SWIMMING in the ocean was almost too much for me to handle. We quickly discovered that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. The beach itself looks innocent enough, but along this particular stretch of beach, enormous rocks hide just beneath the surface and you end up tripping over them as soon as you get waist deep in the water. Stephen indulged me till' I got tired of this game and we went to go eat dinner.

crappy thing 5: The "restaurant" was in fact more of a buffet. You pick up your own plate, slop out some food , sit at some random table squished between the lady with cankles and the family with 4 unruly children, and eat. This food is kept out in troughs for several hours during meal times, in open air. You narrow down exactly WHAT you will slop onto your plate by choosing from the following categories: "acceptable", "questionable", or "dear god, what IS that?" I'm sorry, but if you don't have a menu, you're not a restaurant.

crappy thing 6: When you picture a beach resort, you probably think of Pina Coladas and Strawberry Daiquiris. As all-inclusive guests, we could have whatever we wanted from the bar. The thing is, the drinks come in disappointing little plastic cups similar to the one you'd use to serve your 5 year old milk, and I don't think our drinks came with much more alcohol than a glass of milk might. For me, pretty glasses are half the fun of mixed drinks. And I need some alcohol in me if I'm going to spend all day surrounded by fat, sunburned, speedo'd men in their late 50s. We started asking for our drinks with double shots- hey, we're paying 80 bucks a day! We want our money's worth!

crappy thing 7: Our building was very near the main bar area where they apparently have live music and karaoke late into the night. Enough said.

crappy thing 8: Crappy thing 7 is even crappier when you already can't sleep because it's sweltering hot. It's even hotter because you're sharing a tiny bed with your husband (we would not sleep in separate beds on principal. It's our frickin honeymoon, we are sleeping in the same bed.) and he can't sleep either and neither of us ate very well that evening. Again, enough said. Things 1-8 make for serious mood ruiners.

We held hands mostly to comfort each other. Dominican driving is terrifying for someone who is used to American driving. It would be an understatement to say it takes some getting used to.

They have lanes (in a fashion) and they drive on the same sides we do in the US, but the general rule of thumb is "if your car fits, it's legal". At first, I was mildly alarmed at how fast Speedy was driving, but I speed too, after all. Then, I was mildly alarmed at how close Speedy passed other cars and mopeds. Then, I was mildly amused by the number of people/amount of random crap that Dominicans are able to fit onto a moped. We saw one moped with 3 people on it. We saw a guy on a moped somehow managing to carry a large metal gas canister while navigating heavy traffic. Another person was carrying a large bundle of some kind of grain. I'm not sure if I could adequately describe the circus that was our drive from the airport to the resort. Vehicles pass each other into oncoming traffic, on blind turns, and while driving up hills. Cars pass mopeds, pedestrians, and each other within inches. Everyone tailgates each other.

It's a mess, but somehow, it works, and you do get used to it. Dominicans grow up driving like this. They go everywhere driving like this. It's a completely different set of expectations there. Dominicans don't get angry when someone is driving 6 inches behind them at 40 miles an hour, or when someone swings out and passes them with 4 inches between them. They don't seem frightened when they're passing on a bend and suddenly a truck is approaching in the opposite lane. They just squeeze back into the right lane. People just make room for each other.

The country is gorgeous. They have dramatic peaks, I would guess 5 or 6 thousand feet high, covered with green to the very tip. The place smells exotic. Everything is lush and growing. The towns are bright and vibrant. The cities we drove through were absolutely bursting with life and energy.

We finally made it to the resort and checked in. (it turned out that *17 dollars* was actually *seventy dollars* and we had to give the driver almost all our cash) My aunt and uncle are members of a timeshare called RCI and as a wedding present offered us a week's stay at one of the all inclusive locations. We chose Luperon Beach Resort- the pictures of the place were beautiful, the reviews sounded great, the amenities were many (restaurant on site, all kinds of activities, beach side location, etc), and we had a good overall impression. Stephen spent time in the D.R. a few years ago and loved it, and I've heard so much about it, I wanted to experience it first hand. All it would cost us was $80 a day for all the food and drink we could want. Everything was perfect. We got our luggage back, we made it to the resort alive, the weather was fabulous- we had a week ahead of us to chill and enjoy each other.

(sorry for not posting this weekend. I wanted to but didn't have time. I'll post like crazy today!)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Our seats on the plane were exit row seats, so they were a) cool because we had tons of leg room and b) crappy because the view from our window was the wing and the engine. I showed Stephen the safety procedures, pointed to the people in the pictures, and quoted Fight Club for at least the third time in 2 days; "Calm as Hindu Cows."

We get off the plane and are immediately met with a sensation I've never really experienced, having lived in Colorado my whole life: Humidity. LOTS of it. There was a little quartet playing salsa music as we exited the terminal. We got to the baggage claim area and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Soon there was only 5 or 6 of us waiting. Still no bags. At this point I am rapidly accelerating into a state of panic. I almost began to cry. Not so much because I wanted my Tiva flip-flops or because I spent a good $150 dollars on lingerie that I would never wear and Stephen would never see, but because nothing seemed more hopeless than the prospect of wearing my stank frickin khakis for another week.

Picture Puerto Plata baggage claim: There are 6, maybe 8 airport employees visible. There are 2 of those rotating stations where you pick up luggage, neither of them are loaded or moving. There is a money exchange station with 2 people working. There is a desk against the wall with a computer on it. There are a bunch of unclaimed bags sitting in a pile (which we checked, with no luck). Across the room is the D.R.'s customs area (4 dudes who look at your bags), open doors, and beyond, waiting taxi drivers framed by swaying palm trees and open skies.

We go to the single desk and talk to a guy who speaks minimal English and ask him where the Delta desk is. He taps his desk and says "This is". Troubling. He takes our baggage claims tickets, mumbles, and messes on the computer for about 10 minutes. Remember, I'm still rapidly approaching a full-blown episode here. I'm chewing my bottom lip, fidgeting with anything and everything I can find, stamping impatiently, and basically doing everything in my power to keep from HAVING an episode. CAN NOTHING GO RIGHT???

Suddenly he said something and I was jolted from my little reverie by Stephen's voice announcing three very important words, "He found them." Turns out, our baggage managed to make the flight we missed and made it into the D.R. despite the supposedly very rigid rules about international baggage, and They had been keeping them in a locked holding area. It turns out Delta had been lying about our bags stopping in Atlanta, being in Atlanta, and being on our flight. One thing I've learned from this trip is that airlines and politicians have a fundamental trait in common: they're all liars.

I could have kissed that little Dominican man (but kissed Stephen instead). My panic was replaced with ecstasy. We got in the taxi that the resort sent for us (they told us on the phone the day before that it would cost $17, payable in American dollars) and got on our way- the trip was supposed to be an hour and a half. The taxi driver had a stuffed Speedy Gonzales hanging from the rear view mirror of his van (which sort of reminded me of the blue line). Our taxi driver sort of resembled Speedy Gonzales. I opened the window, it started to rain. I breathed in the humid island air. "Finally," I thought, "Our honeymoon can actually start". Stephen and I held hands.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

In Atlanta our first order of business was to find our luggage that Delta promised would be there. But Delta lied, ladies and gentleman. After we trusted them, Delta betrayed us. However, I fell instantly in love with Atlanta and with all of Georgia and everyone who lives there. Completely contrary to our NY experience, every single person we talked to was POLITE and SMILED and NICE just to be nice and seemed genuinely interested in helping us out. So if you happen to be a reader from the peach state, let me just say: I love you. A lot. Like, more than I hate New York, I love you.

Anyway, we were assured our luggage was in the dubious "international holding area" mysteriously located "downstairs" and would be put on our flight to the D.R. the next day when we boarded. We settled for 2 Delta overnight care packages which contained a tiny toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, small stick of deodorant just barely this side of opaque, enormous one-size-fits-all Delta t-shirt, and a hairbrush like the kind I used to see little girls using on their barbies. We rented a car (a surprisingly fun-to-ride-in P.T. Cruiser which had omniniftitious* cooling/heating vents on the dashboard that I played with for a full 10 minutes upon getting in the car) and headed to the hotel. As a side note, the hip-hop/rap/R&B radio station in Atlanta plays WAY better music than Denver's.

I was expecting a motel near the airport: cheap, convenient. What Stephen had actually booked was a room at the Grand Hyatt, downtown Atlanta. They upgraded us to the honeymoon suite for FREE. (Atlanta, Seriously. I love you. All of you.) When we walked in, there was a bottle of champagne resting in a bucket of ice next to two glasses, along with a dish set with giant chocolate dipped strawberries and white chocolate shavings. I melted.

We decided to go to a nice restaurant for dinner but, as we didn't have our luggage, we didn't have any clothes to wear except the ones we'd worn all night and all day which looked decent enough for a nice restaurant but were becoming progressively stank. We went anyway, to Atlanta Fish Market, and our waiter sounded like Barry White. He was totally cool just like everyone else in Atlanta. (Atlanta, have I ever told you you're my hero? You're everything I would like to be.)

In the morning Stephen goes, "Babe, I love that shirt. You just look so good in it... I think you should wear it again today." "Yeah?" I responded, "I think I will. It's my new favorite shirt. And I like those jeans you've got. You should wear them again, too." At this point our clothes were legitimately stank, which prompted Stephen to soak his boxers in the sink and then iron them dry. ("This cleans them how?" I wondered, but Stephen explained that were "wrinkly". Huh.)

We got to take free breakfast stuffs from the restaurant downstairs in the morning and made our way hazily to the airport in some famous Atlanta traffic. We got completely lost trying to find the rental car place but a sweet girl at the store stayed on the phone with me and helped us find our way. ( I can fly higher than an eagle, Atlanta, for you are the wind beneath my wings...) The morning went without incident and the very beautiful lady at our gate told us she was sure our luggage was already on the plane, but she would double check.

We got on the plane, again with this hope and false sense of security we were fast becoming accustomed to, all excited to FINALLY be tasting that sweet ocean air in a matter of hours. It's only uphill from here, right?

*omniniftitious: Adj. Possessing the quality of complete niftiness, I.E., Totally Nifty**

**This is in fact not a real word. I made it up in 11th grade during English class and since I went to a small school the English teacher put it on a vocab test as a joke. Please start using it in your regular rotation.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I'll just start off with some basic info. We were to fly Frontier to New York City, then switch to Delta to fly to Atlanta, then the Dominican Republic. We had troubles from the beginning with our baggage since we were flying international and switching airlines, but Frontier said "No problem, we'll handle it," and checked our baggage all the way to our final destination. So Stephen and I got coffee and hunkered down to wait, all excited for tropical breezes and sex on the beach (I mean the drink, come on guys). I also remember at this point that the cute new flat shoes I had worn to dinner were beginning to be uncomfortable, but I thought "Oh well, I'll be barefoot on the sand by tomorrow afternoon."

We were scheduled to leave Denver at 12:30 am and arrive at the above mentioned airport (I shall not utter the name again) at 6:00 am, local time. Since it was a cold, snowy, and ICY evening, Frontier (logically) decided to wait till we were all boarded and 15 minutes past take-off time to de-ice the plane. We didn't get to New York till 6:40, and then we sat on the ground for what seemed like forever waiting for a gate.

Ever been through LaGuardia Airport in New York, NY? This is possibly the most inconvenient, ill conceived airport ever designed by man.

First this short little New Yorker with a big mouth wouldn't step two feet back in front of her seat so Stephen and I could slip past her and run to catch out flight that left in 10 minutes. "I don't care. I've got places to go, too. I'm in a hurry and I want to go home and I don't give a damn about you." We were both astonished by this attitude and I actually argued with her a little (when Stephen tells the story he says I beat the crap out of her).

Anyway, we get out, we run like mad. This airport actually has the terminals in separate buildings and there are 2 buses (literally, 2 single buses, not lines) that go between them. The RED line and the BLUE line. The red line came first, and the sign said it would take us to Delta. We get on the bus and the driver begins the following exchange:

Driver Dude: (without looking up) Where you goin?
Us: Delta Airlines.
Dude: You need the blue line. This da red line.
Us: Oh... But the sign-
Dude: I'm da red line. You need da blue line for Delta. (Stephen exits bus. I am not satisfied by this reiterated and ultimately ineffectual explanation.)
Me: Are you sure? (Points at sign)
Dude: This is ma job, lady.
Me: (Glowers at him and exits bus)

5 minutes later (By the way, it was FREEZING in NY), the BLUE line shows up. The thing is older than God and makes this terrifying noise when the doors close, when the doors open, when it accelerates, when it slows down, when it stops, and when it makes turns, but the driver is cordial enough and takes us to the correct terminal.

Obviously, we missed our connection. We spent the following 2 or 3 hours going back and forth between Delta and Frontier (in separate buildings, naturally) being told contradictory things about rescheduling our flight, where our baggage would be, etc. Frontier says "No, we can't do that, go to the Delta desk." Delta says "No, you'll have to have Frontier do that for you, we can't." No one exhibited any effort to help us find a solution or track down our baggage. We got nasty attitude and plain rudeness from every agent and representative we talked to. This is service? We were treated like an inconvenience at each desk and office.

In the end, we could get to Atlanta that day, but the sad reality was that we wouldn't make it to the D.R. that day. 2 flights go daily to the airport we were trying to reach, and we would miss both of them. I think I cried the entire morning. I was devastated, Stephen was livid. On our last exasperated visit to the Delta desk, the girl asked "Well? What do you want to do?" Stephen and I exchanged glances and he answered, "We want to get the hell out of New York."

This might be an unfair blanket statement based on my circumstances and the very short amount of time I spent there, but we didn't meet a single person with any discernible compassion or sense of human decency. From now on I won't hesitate to go out of my way to help someone out.

Our flight to Atlanta didn't leave for another hour, so we got some "yogurt" and I sat at our gate while Stephen paced the walkway, on his phone, trying to book a hotel in Atlanta. We were assured that our bags would stop in Atlanta because Delta can get an enormous fine for letting international luggage cross borders without their owners on the flight. So we sat down again, tired and slightly less excited but still ready for those sandy beaches the next day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

As I said, it was perfect (My only complaint was that it was snowing, but it really was beautiful). My mom and I stopped at Devil's Food in Wash Park for this amazing Jasmine tea that I just can't get enough of. My girls all looked fabulous, though one of my... uh, less endowed bridesmaids was having trouble keeping her strapless dress up and was forced to use safety pins in some rather personal areas. My Grandmother made my dress and veil and I felt beautiful with it on. I looked exactly like I had always imagined.

We had a time of worship before the wedding party marched in, so we got to worship in the balcony so the boys couldn't see us. My good friend John (I've known John since I was 11!! A big thank you for being a part of my wedding!!!) led worship on his guitar, with his brother on the keys (the kid has GIFT), our buddy Sandy on the bass, and the father of the bride himself on the drumset (he sounded great).

There's nothing that compares to the feeling I got when we entered the sanctuary and I saw Stephen standing at the other end of the aisle, grinning like he'd never laid eyes on me before. It was a sweet moment. I kept seeing familiar faces in the pews and I'm the kind of person that drops everything and runs to hug someone she hasn't seen in a while, so this was an exercise in restraint for me, more than anything. Our pastor's charge was short, sweet, and very good. Stephen's vows were lovely, and I managed to spit mine out without stumbling over more than 4 words.

Then, the surprise. After the vows and rings, our pastor told Stephen I had a surprise for him and handed me the mic. You see, I decided to follow in the footsteps of my pastors wife and surprise my husband to be by singing a song at the wedding. Thing is, I decided to be even more foolish and sing it A Capella. The song was "Our Love is Here to Stay", by George and Ira Gershwin (the rendition I did was more like Natalie Cole's). It's a beautiful, classic, jazzy song and the lyrics said exactly what I wanted to say. As I took the mic from my pastor, my mind was racing. "Holy crap holy crap what the HELL am I THINKING?????" I mumbled something about being very nervous and careened right into my surprise.

As I coughed up the first line, "It's very clear..." suddenly, it was. Here I am, in front of a church full of people who love me, looking into the eyes of the man I adore, doing the only thing I've ever felt comfortable doing. Why should I be nervous? I belted out the rest of the song, and Stephen even cried as he mouthed the words of the chorus along with me.

We did communion and a sand ceremony during which Stephen secretly arranged to have John play one of my favorite songs on his guitar (that was wonderful, Stephen). Basically we had 2 colors of sand (blue for him, green for me) and one big vase. We poured the sand into the vase to symbolize our unity, but the jars were awkward shapes so Stephen's poured slower than mine resulting in a good 2 inches of blue sand on top. Later John mentioned this suggestively to Stephen and Stephen responded "Yeah, I start slow but I finish strong". They laughed, as boys do. This is practically my brother Stephen is talking to. Embarrassing.

The reception was fun, fun, fun with dancing and pictures and so much delicious looking food that I didn't get to eat. My dad danced with me when "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" came on. The silly things men do for their daughters. The first thing my cousin David asked me when I walked in was "Which one of your friends will dance with me? Oh, and congratulations!"

We thought we lost our digital camera, found it, and went to Morton's Steakhouse for delicious food and drink and the most bizarre menu presentation. They actually wheeled a cart to our table with a live lobster on it.

Next, our plane leaves at 12:30 am and the fun begins.

Think Before You Give!

I'm back! Thanks for all your sweet comments and the such! (Kelli, it was wonderful to have you guys here! I wish we could have spent more time.)

We had a fabulous wedding day. Everything went perfectly and we had a blast. The honeymoon was sort of a series of disasters, but we ended up laughing about the whole thing and having fun anyway. It's a long, ridiculous story, and I feel in order to do justice to that story I'll be posting it in a series. That series will be titled (what else?): "The Honeymooners". You can check back every day for new episodes. Also, since we have a digital camera now, I'll try to post pictures as soon as Stephen and I figure out how to hook the camera up to the laptop.

Couples typically register for gifts somewhere; we did Bed Bath & Beyond and Target. Pretty standard. There are unwritten rules concerning this practice and I now see it's is my duty to inform the public at large of these rules.

If you are invited to a wedding, you usually fall into 2 different groups: General Admission and Special Privileges. If you are immediate family or close friends that are in regular contact (at least once a week-ie, you know them well) with the bride and/or groom, you can count yourself in the Special Privileges group. If you are anyone else, you are General Admission. Don't take this personally. G.A. just means it's customary for you to give the couple a gift they registered for, or money. You know that part of the invitation advising where the couple is registered? It's not so much a suggestion as it is a polite way of saying "Please don't buy us some random thing you thought we might like even though you the last time we talked was at the Christmas party 2 years ago." If you're in the S.P. group, feel free to use your intimate knowledge of the bride and/or groom to get something meaningful or useful, even if they didn't register for it.

Stephen's aunt (God bless the woman, she really is a cool lady and I can't wait to meet her) gave us something we definitely didn't register for. It reminds me a little of book reports and science projects I did in junior high. You know, you get the posterboard display that folds open and stands up, and you put graphs and pictures and whatever on it. That's kind of what Stephen's aunt got us. It's from hallmark, and it's a stand up photo display that's called something like "Our Love Story", it's hard to describe. It's a nice idea, but... super cheesy... it's NOT our style. A blender or some hand towels would have been more useful and just as sweet.

Stephen and I drink wine, thus, we registered for wine glasses, which we received along with 2 bottles of wine. Our good friend Liz gave us martini glasses and a bottle of vodka, which I thought was a clever idea that reflected something I mentioned in passing during a conversation, and since Liz has special privileges, it was cool to get stuff we didn't register for from her.

Next rule: NO regifting, period (unless you happen to have the exact item the couple registered for and you happen to not need or want said item and said item happens to be in new condition). 2 of Stephen's friends (R&M) just got married 4 months ago. We like them but never hang out. We saw R&M at their wedding and again at someone else's wedding- in other words, they are General Admission. Now, R&M got us martini glasses and a bottle of vodka. Odd. We didn't register for that. Our suspicion is that they got the glasses for their wedding and regifted us. One word, people: TACKY. Now we have 8 martini glasses, 2 bottles of vodka, and we don't drink martinis often.

Here's the next rule. A bunch of people made out checks to "Stephen and Rachel (last name)". Now, I haven't changed my name yet (I'm going to, but it takes time). The thing is, if the check says Stephen and Rachel, we BOTH have to sign for them to deposit it. If it says Stephen or Rachel, only one of us has to. The other other thing is, I can't sign them. My name is still Rachel Maiden, not Rachel Married. What if I wasn't planning on changing my name? Could we not cash those checks? So, checks made out to the married couple: cute at the time, but frickin inconvenient when we want to pay off our credit cards.

I know it's the thought that counts, blah blah blah, but we've spent more time at the bank and running around from home furnishing store to home furnishing store that we have at home with each other. Newlyweds don't want to spend their first day home together driving from Target to Target trying exchange plates. I'm just saying.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

An End, A Beginning

Well, it is currently "the big day". It's 1:09, saturday morning, and I JUST finished writing my vows. Nothing like the last minute, hey? I had them in my head for a while but I just got inspiration and wrote them out. I also went to the spa, did my nails, and packed for the honeymoon. Basically I'm bringing:

flip flops
tank tops

We're headed to the caribbean! Our flight leaves at, like, midnight, so we're just going out to dinner after the reception.

Everyone toasted us at our rehearsal dinner. John was really sweet, and Stephen's sister Kelli brought down the house with funny stories about Stephen as a kid. My dad passed around a photo album of child Rachel (including one shot of me, maybe 2 years old, SHIRTLESS, sitting on his lap while he played his drumset). Then he cried. He almost cried durng the rehearsal every time he put my hands in Stephen's. We're both going to fall apart during the daddy daughter dance (Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole, Unforgettable). My dad sure is crazy about me. I'm one lucky girl. Tomorrow is a beautiful, amazing day, but in a way, a very sad day. I have to leave my daddy's house and name and my childhood behind and begin a new household with my new husband. My dad and I have been through a lot together, some really really terrible years, and increasingly we've enjoyed a beautiful relationship.

I have a surprise for Stephen and I'd write about it here but I'm not sure if he'll read my blog in the next 9 hours, so I won't say anything till' later. I won't be blogging till next Monday or Tuesday! Mel has mono so pray she doesn't pass out on the stage!!

Holy crap I still can't beleive this is happening. Far Out.

Also keep in mind that it's the middle of the night here, so sorry about this post. Really. Sorry. Post.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

We all know how I love coffee. I obviously have stopped sharing the intimate financial details of my coffee spending- It couldn't possibly be 2 months since I purchased a cup o' legal addictive stimulant. I've just gotten lazy about it and, honestly, I've been spending less.

But there's an irresistible little coffee shop called Aviano that serves up a latte like you've never tasted. Aviano caters to the intelligent, trendy, indie crowd, has interesting art exhibits, and all the baristas have tattoos and/or piercings (i.e. I was born to drink coffee from this place). They make beautiful drinks with a pretty flowery thing from the foam and espresso and I always feel guilty taking the first sip because I ruin it.

Truth be told, I feel guilty setting foot in Aviano at all. The brother of one of Stephen's friends used to work for this coffee shop and the owner screwed him over. Fired him for no reason, called the cops when the dude came in the get his last paycheck. So we stopped going there (something in me died that day). It's not been a problem as we're almost never in that neighborhood, but Aviano is ridiculously convenient for me if I happen to be driving to work rather than riding the train, which I am doing all this week. I think God thinks it's funny to play with my emotions. It would have been better if I had not tasted this heavenly latte in the first place.

I did something bad today, guys.

Right this very moment... I am drinking a heavenly latte from the forbidden coffee shop... and it is ecstasy. I did it first when Stephen was on his business trip a few weeks ago... I drove to work every day so I could get home a little earlier to play with Moses. Which means I drove past Aviano every day... which means I broke the rules every day. I told him, of course. I'm the worst secret keeper in the world. This just shows how the wiles of a woman can crack a man's resolve: the other night, Stephen suggested we go to Aviano after dinner. What have I done?

Monday, April 02, 2007

122 hours.

We're getting close now- 5 days.

Our Pastor called us up for prayer on Sunday and the reaction of the church was amazing.

"Before I begin the message... Stephen and Rachel are getting married in a week and I'd like to pray for them. Where are they? (at this point the entire section behind us waved their hands and pointed at us)... oh- Would you two come up here, please?"

Upon hearing our names a handful of people hooted and hollered and clapped. By the time we got up to the front the ENTIRE CHURCH was laughing and applauding and shouting. It felt wonderful.

It's not a really big church and most people know us. I've been in this church since I was 11 and I've been singing on the worship team since I was 17 or 18. Stephen's also on the team- he's a drummer- so most people recognize us because we're both on stage at least once a month. It was just incredible how exuberant everyone was. After church my Pastor's wife saw me and looked like she was going to cry. "You just grew up too fast!! So fast! But it's going to be such a beautiful day." she said as she hugged me.

It's becoming more surreal every day. We went on Friday to get our marriage license but it all could have been ruined because I was stupid enough to have my knife in my purse. Passing through security at the Clerk and Recorder's Office, the deadpan security guard said "You've got a knife in your purse, ma'am." My minds eye shot to an image of my knife, earrings, and handful of change sitting on the bookshelf back at Stephen's house.

"No, I carry a knife but I don't have it with me today," I said. She made me empty my purse and, sure enough, there it was at the very bottom. I took it out and handed it to her. She fooled with it for a moment but couldn't figure out how to open it. I opened it for her and showed her the release and handed it to her. She fooled with it some more but couldn't close it. She handed it back to me blade first (stupid woman) and I showed her a few times how to open and close it. She tried again with minimal success and announced, "Yep, this is a switchblade. I can't hold this for you." (Switchblades are illegal in Colorado and I don't own one. It's just a pocket knife.)

For crap sake, lady. If you can't even open it, how are you supposed to know what kind of a knife it is? The thing is an inch and a half long and opens about a third of the way in a "V" shape when you press the release. It's pretty dull and it's only good for utility purposes. And by law, a knife like that with a blade 3 inches long or less is not considered a concealed weapon and it's my LEGAL RIGHT to carry it around if I want to, but I didn't want to a cause a big scene. She was "kind enough" not to confiscate it and let me put it out in the car. Hassle. Grumble.