Where do I even begin to recap the wedding? Starting with the wedding day seems too late somehow, as Joel and I rolled into Lancaster on the Thursday beforehand to get the pets settled at my parents' house and take care of a few last-minute details before everyone else started rolling into town.
Actually, okay, the truth is, the wedding weekend started off with housekeeping and cat barf. I finished work on Wednesday evening and headed home in New York to finish packing, see Joel and Bella off and center myself in the calm before the storm, which for me means housecleaning. (Cindy, holla!) Our apartment, all locked up and lonely as I write this from the honeymoon, is cleaner than it's been IN MONTHS.
I wasn't too stressed out while I was in New York, to be honest. I had deliberately tried to space things out so that I could "coast to the end" with work and wedding planning and managed to stay pretty calm. Joel left with Bella after evening rush hour as we learned our lesson last Christmas that driving in one car with all three pets is a dance with disaster, and I left for Lancaster Thursday morning.
Now, Fred basically has two modes in the car: asleep or angry. He caterwauls and then drifts off to sleep with his face pressed up against the metal bars of his cat carrier, all angry, angry waffle face. Ollie usually suffers in silence, occasionally reaching one front leg aalllll the way out of his carrier as if he's trying to poke me in the back of the head.
Not this time. Oh, poor Ollie was so carsick. I took the back roads to avoid the majority of the New Jersey Turnpike, and he was so miserable. He was gagging and yowling (which woke up Fred, thus flipping his mode switch from Asleep to Angry) and in general was just so sick. I could see him drooling with nausea in the rearview mirror, but the only thing I could really do was keep driving and end his agony by showing up at my parents' house. At one point, his mouth was open and his little tongue was shaking. I do an excellent imitation of this, by the way. If you ask me nicely, I might post a video on YouTube.
I arrived at East Pete around 7 p.m. where my parents, Joel, and Joel's parents were just sitting down to dinner. I bustled around freeing The Angry One and The Nauseous One, who slunk under my bed and collapsed like a college freshman after a kegger, reaching one toe out to try to make the world stop spinning. I tried to hustle Ollie's Cat Carrier of Doom past the eating folks, making my excuses and expressing my relief that I was at a place with a compost pile and a garden hose.
"The hose is out back!" my dad called.
"I know!" I replied. "I used to live here!"
I heard him say, "Oh, that's right" half to himself and half to my in-laws, who laughed. I used to live here. It was the first subtle acknowledgment of the weekend that Big Changes were afoot.
The rest of the evening flew by in a haze of filling candy buffet jars, loading up booze, chairs, sparklers, hospitality baskets and all the various and sundry other projects and supplies I'd been working on for the past year. Sheesh, A YEAR! The thing about being a Do-It-Yourself Bride? You have to do it all your own damn self (and if you're very lucky, with help from my mom :).
I sat around my parents' kitchen table with Joel, my sister, brother-in-law, and Jason (Proverbial Boy Next Door, 1985-1996) and had corn on the cob picked that morning from the farm down the road and vanilla ice cream with fresh peaches, two summer tastes of my childhood. Everyone else would start rolling into town the next day.
Time 'til We Talked down the Aisle: 42 Hours and counting down...