Sunday, January 22, 2006

Wedding plans

I hadn't posted anything about Sara's and my engagement because I wanted to be able to tell everyone in person first. I've mostly done that now, and if I haven't told you in person, well, sorry.

We got engaged back in November, actually on my birthday. I asked her to be my birthday present, which I thought was better than asking on Christmas or Valentine's Day, and only slightly more cheesy.

Ever since then, the wedding plans have been the 400lb gorilla in the room that no one wants to confront. We talked about it a little, but with very different ideas of we each want we hadn't made much forward progress.

Sara wants a big church wedding (preferably in the Saint Paul Cathedral) to make her parents happy. I want something small and informal, preferably a destination wedding, because I detest pomp and circumstance and don't really like being the center of attention. Not being a practicing Catholic makes me an unlikely candidate for the Cathedral too, but I figured I would jump through whatever hoops they would require to get back in their good graces in time for a big wedding.

We booked a local mansion, Cedarhurst, that does outdoor weddings and receptions and thought we were well on our way, but the realization of the expense of the whole undertaking kept weighing on me, though I tried not to show it. I know that Sara was concerned about it as well, and she tried to calm my fears by saying that her parents would pay for some of the wedding.

A week after putting our deposit down at Cedarhurst we had a long talk about what we each wanted from the wedding, what our parents might want, and what we were willing to settle for. In the end, we decided that a small destination wedding was the way to go, both in terms of cost, and in terms of a ceremony that we both could live with. Hopefully her parents will understand and won't hold it against me.

So, our Oct. 14th wedding is off (which is good because it wasn't looking like we were going to get the Cathedral -- it's a solemnity day and they might not be able to have a wedding that day anyway) and we're now going to be planning the wedding I've always dreamed of -- something informal on a beach in the tropics. Maybe I'll even get a steel drum to play...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Holidays in NYC

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted, I've been quite busy lately (though none of it was really interesting).

The week before Christmas Sara and I took an early flight to JFK to visit with my dad and his third wife, Karen, at one of his time share condos in Manhattan (across from Carnegie Hall). Unfortunately, this was the first day of the Metro Transit strike so the normally hour long ride took nearly three hours and we arrived in the lobby just when dad and Karen had given up hope of us arriving in time to see the show at Radio City. We gave our bags to the bellman and were off to walk the 5 blocks to Radio City. We made it with about 10 minutes to spare.

The show was their usual Christmas Spectacular, though from the way-back seats, it's not so spectacular. I was glad that we were behind the artificial snow so none of it landed on us, but the view was about what I would see on my 55" TV.

The next day we were limited in our travels because of the metro strike and Karen's artificial hip, we wandered around in a very small area, staying near 5th Ave and Broadway. The Christmas shopping rush was in full swing and I was almost able to buy the perfume my mom wanted at the Bulgari shop on 5th Avenue, but they were sold out.

That night we saw "The Producers" the movie which everyone but me loved. I'm not a fan of musicals, but it was OK.

On the third, and last day, of our trip, Dad, Sara and I wandered down to Rockefeller Center to see the rink and tall tree. The murals inside Rockefeller Plaza were quite interesting, but unfortunately we entered from the wrong entrance and read them backwards; giving the impression that a mighty civilization had deteriorated in a simple agrarian society.

Dad and Karen drove us to Grand Central Station so we could get the bus back to the airport. The transit strike had just ended an hour before, but that didn't do anything to help traffic. It was worse than ever with people trying to leave town for the Christmas weekend. They dropped us off at about 4pm for our 7:15pm flight. We stood in line for about 20 minutes before we got on a bus and went nowhere fast. At one point a lady walked into traffic, and with a heavy French accent asked if we could take her to JFK because she was late for her flight. Our bus driver informed her that he had no empty seats and she would need to buy a ticket across from Grand Central.

When our bus finally got to our terminal at 6:45pm we were sure that if we made our flight it would be as the doors were closing. Luckily no one was in line to get a boarding pass (though one lady cut in front of us saying that she had a 7:15 flight, we got the next agent because we were closer to that agent). There was basically no line for security (the Delta terminal) and our gate was #1, so we didn't have an issue getting to the gate a little before 7pm. And, lucky for us, the flight was delayed an hour.

Leaving the Minneapolis airport was almost as exciting as at 11:30pm the credit card reader that figures out how long you've been parked didn't want to read my card. I must have inserted and removed my card 50 times before Sara suggested that we just back up and try a different reader (my card is constantly giving me grief, time for a replacement). Thankfully the second reader read my card on the first try and we were gone. I didn't relish the thought of trying to find someone to let us out at 11:30pm on Dec 22nd.