I've been married twice before. Once when I was 18 (which ended with my being widowed eight months later) and once when I was 23 (which ended in divorce after three and a half years). Since 1977 I've shied away from marriage; the cruel realities of it had visited themselves rather harshly on me far too early in life. When I met Lynette marriage just wasn't in the realm of possibility so I never even considered it. I never needed that "piece of paper" to strengthen my commitment to her and our blended family, or to ourselves as a couple and our life together. In 2001 we had a Holy Union ceremony and that was good enough for me. It had to be. Then, earlier this month, Marriage Equality was passed in our state and we decided to take the plunge. We already felt married, but making it legal would grant us all the privileges and protections other couples take for granted as their inherent rights. I know. I did too when I was younger. It wasn't until I realized I'd forfeit my equality that I appreciated all that was wasn't open to me anymore. So two weeks ago we began planning a wedding ceremony to be performed here at Bookends Cottage in the presence of our closest friends and family members.
I don't care what anyone tells you. To plan and prepare an in-home wedding and reception is hard work and it's expensive. Unless you're under 50 and can afford food caterers and a team of people to come in and clean, rearrange furniture, decorate, and then undo everything afterward, my advice is DON'T DO IT. If you can afford a catered affair at a restaurant, a hotel, or some other place, do that instead. But that wasn't practical in our situation. We simply couldn't afford it. Instead, I did all the cleaning, Lynette decorated and did most of the errand-running, and we had a friend who volunteered to help with the food, including the gorgeous cupcakes she and her daughter made. But there was furniture to move, clutter to remove (books, plants, dog toys, etc.), and the house to clean from top to bottom.
On Friday morning we went to the courthouse to get our marriage license and on the way up the sidewalk I tripped and fell flat on my face. I mean, on my actual face. I had scuff marks on my nose and chin, my hands were bloody and I wrenched my right shoulder, but I was damned lucky. Lying face-down on the sidewalk in shock, all I could think was, "Oh, man, I hope I didn't break a hip or something and we'll have to hold the wedding in the hospital..." Lynette helped me up and, fortunately, everything except my dignity seemed to be intact. Makeup covered the scuff marks, some bandage took care of my hands and, later, champagne took care of the rest and everyone had a wonderful time. Until the next morning when I could hardly move and I knew there was no way the house was going to get put back in order anytime soon. Then, while moving the TV into the bedroom and plugging it in, Lynette gave herself a mild concussion. What a pair! She was dizzy all day and I hurt all over. Still, we had a restful, enjoyable day napping, nibbling on leftover party food and drinking champagne. In fact, we spent the entire weekend in bed, but oh, how these things change when age sets in.
The house is somewhat normal now, but moving the furniture back, hauling boxes in and out of the garage, vacuuming, and putting all the gifts away is going to have to wait until my shoulder is better. Honeymoon? What's that? When old farts marry the closest we get to a honeymoon is rubbing Icy Hot on each other while cooing, "Don't worry, sweetheart. We need to conserve our strength for the cleanup."