Friday, February 26, 2010

on how snow is the nemesis of humanity

When last we left our heroes, they were having a pleasant drive up to the lands of Northern Virginia for their Idaho open house....

THE EPIC HONEYMOON STORY.  (And following weeks.) - Part 2

So we reach my parents' house at 1:55 in the afternoon, perfect timing to grab a sandwich, grab my mom, and be on the road for the airport at 2:10.  Our flight leaves from Baltimore at 6:00, and it takes 90 minutes to get there, so we figure we've got PLENTY of time...until my mom tells us that we're supposed to be picking up my dad from work in D.C.  "Through the city?!" I think.  Ricky and I share meaningful looks.  He looks concerned.  For those of you who aren't aware, a very strong person could probably dig to China in the amount of time it takes to get anywhere in D.C. Friday afternoon traffic.  Regardless, I remind myself, we have plenty of time to get to the airport...

...until the accident on I-95.

An accident, we find out later, that was caused when an elderly man in a truck rear-ended a VDOT (Virginia Department of Transportation) truck that was on the shoulder of the road, presumably clearing snow (they have to truck it out of the city because there isn't anywhere to put it).  The man wasn't wearing his seatbelt, flew through the windshield, and died.  The accident happened in the early afternoon, and we hit traffic around 2:30, and we were stuck in traffic for maybe...45 minutes?  An hour?  They closed two lanes of the three lane highway to get everything cleaned up, so it was a process.  My dad is freaking out via cell phone because we're stuck there, so finally he decides to just meet us at the airport.  Instead of going the way we normally go to Baltimore (specifically, AROUND D.C.), he directs us on 395 and suddenly we're passing the Pentagon.  We're pretty much in the heat of the afternoon traffic at this point, and one (unknowingly) missed turnoff later, we're taking the long way to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.  By "long way," I mean, "the way of 500,000 stoplights." So, dad hits the B-W Parkway before we do, but he overshoots the airport exit and hits heinous traffic in the backtracking process.  By the time we finally get onto the Parkway, we've passed the majority of traffic, but there's no way we're going to get to the airport on time.  When we FINALLY arrive, it's 5:30--technically, we could've let mom take the car back home (even though she and dad are supposed to be flying out with us) and Ricky and I could've taken our carry-ons and ran.  However, anyone who's ever been to BWI knows perfectly well that even though we could've gotten in line for check-in slightly past 5:30, there is no physical way we could've gotten through the line, through security and to the gate in 30 minutes on a Friday evening.  It makes no difference regardless, because we didn't even think of this until we were in the long-time parking lot waiting for the shuttle to the terminal.  When we arrive at said terminal, it is 6:15 and the flight is probably flying off into the distance.  At this point, mom realizes that she's left her carry-on bag at the shuttle stop!  So, she grabs the nearest shuttle driver she can find, much radio-ing occurs, and she anxiously waits outside for its retrieval.

Meanwhile, Ricky and I figure we can just catch the next flight out to Boise, right?  No.  Because of massive (for the South) snowstorms in Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, and every major southern airport, all flights are being redirected and EVERY SINGLE FLIGHT to Boise, "Why Am I Suddenly a Major Tourist Attraction" Idaho is completely booked until the next night...too late for us to make it to the reception.  Ok, we think, let's try Salt Lake City.  Wrong again.  Same reason.

Ricky and I are horrified.  Let's get some backstory:
-Sam Faubion and her fiance have driven approximately 12 hours from Washington to stay with Ricky's parents that night in preparation for our reception the next day.  When we find out there are no flights, they are an hour away from Burley.
-My aunt rescheduled my 8-year-old cousin's baptism for the following weekend so they could come to the reception.
-Ricky's second oldest sister, in post-medical school residency, actually managed to get two days off from the ER to fly up from New Mexico to ID with her four kids. 
-Someone in Burley has made us a wedding cake.  The cultural hall is lavishly decorated.  There are hundreds of people who have invitations to that reception.

See why this is a national emergency?  I, honestly, could care less about a party thrown in my honor, but what gets me is the fact that so many people will be disappointed after all the effort they made to be there.  Ricky and I spend the next few hours trying to call someone, anyone who can find us a flight.  We try Delta first and most often, but this is what we get: "We're sorry, due to extreme weather in the southeast and high call volume, we are unable to take your call."  I got Delta's answering machine!  No "wait for the next available representative," nothing.  How does a major airline just stop taking calls?!  And my poor parents are stuck with non-refundable tickets, by the way, but they're just focused on getting the newlyweds there.  After checking flights from Dulles, Reagan, and all airports within a reasonable distance and still finding nothing, we see that there's a 7:00 a.m. flight to SLC leaving from Dulles the next morning.  The problem is, we're not sure if the flight is full, so we may have to fly standby.  The other problem is, our tickets are from BWI, so we have to contact Delta and get them changed to Dulles.  Well, we all know how that's working out, so I wonder if we can just ask the BWI Delta representatives to change them--only to find out that they've all closed up shop and gone home because the last Delta flight--ours--has left.

Despairing, we decide to go home to my parents', get up at 4:30, leave at 5:00 for Dulles, get there at 6:00, and get our flight changed to SLC.  Everything goes well, until we get to the airport and I find out that our Delta tickets, since they were bought through Expedia, are actually United Airlines tickets (don't ask me how that works--I'm still trying to figure it out).  So, after waiting in the Delta line for 10 minutes, I now go wait in the even longer United line (Ricky is parking the car) for another 15.  Ricky catches up to me right before I reach the counter, and when we explain what we're trying to do, they send us to ANOTHER counter to rebook.  There's no line at this one, but by now it's 6:30 and the woman at our final counter says there's no way we'll make the 7:00 flight.  She is, of course, correct, but that doesn't stop me from bursting into tears.  I'm clutching my wedding dress, rolling a carry-on behind me, and trying to get my mononucleized body to run on four hours of sleep.  In other words, I am a hot mess.  The other counter attendant, seeing me crying, comes over to help.  Ricky explains that we're trying to go to our wedding reception.  As in, the celebration of our marriage.  This, combined with my weepy demeanor, is probably how we managed to score standby tickets to Denver, hoping to catch another standby flight to Boise by 4:00 that afternoon.  If we can make that flight, we're golden!

Our progression through the airport is accompanied by weird stares--I am, after all, carrying an enormous white garment bag that just screams, "I AM A WEDDING DRESS!"  After flinging it into practically every person that passes ("Excuse me, sorry, my fault"), we make it to the gate and find that someone (thank you, counter attendant who was obviously swayed by my tears) has bumped us up to numbers 1 and 2 on a standby list of over a dozen.  Miraculously, we get on the flight!  We're happy.  The flight goes well, I'm not feeling too sick, and nothing eventful happens on the way to Denver.  When we get to Denver, there is no snow.  None at all.  We left Dulles COVERED in snow, and the midwest has none?  As unfair as I think this is, the past few weeks have left me hardened to cruel jokes of the universe.  (Please know that I burst out laughing as I typed that sentence.)  So anyway, the flight we're supposed to be catching to Boise doesn't leave for like, six hours, so we entertain ourselves by eating airport food, yada yada, until we make our way to the gate.  We're numbers 1 and 2 on the standby list...this time for like, 20!  I wasn't kidding when I said Boise was the happenin' place to be this weekend.  I've got my fingers crossed as the plane fills up, but again--miraculously--there's one spot open!  I practically have to shove Ricky forward to go (because duh, it's his family and his friends and his hometown), and he finally does, and just as he's about to grab his ticket, the last passenger--a woman in a wheelchair--shows up.  We sit back down.  Ricky, in the only act of frustration I have EVER seen from him--flings the tickets onto the floor...and promptly picks them up.  (What can I say?  He's stable.)  In a last-ditch attempt to get out west before our scheduled flight at 9:00 (the time our reception ends), we check the standby list for the next flight to SLC--it has seven people on it, and we would be at the end. (I'm still around when that flight boards--no standby passengers get seats.)  We're not making it to the reception.

We notify as many people as we can, and wait for the later flight.  We figure the least we can do is get out there and see Ricky's sisters, especially since Maria flew up with her kids.  When we board the 9:00, we're starting to feel better--we'll get to see family, it'll be good, etc.--when Ricky's dad calls to tell him that one of his mission companions showed up unexpectedly to the reception.  Ricky's face just about shattered my heart into a thousand pieces.  The disappointment was painful to witness.  The flight to Boise was unpleasant, to say the least, and the flight attendants kept congratulating us on our marriage and it really didn't make us feel better about the whole situation.  Around 11:00 p.m.--two hours after the end of the reception--we make it into Boise, where Ricky's sister Ana picks us up and takes us back to her house a few minutes away.  There, we meet Ana's three adorable children--Eva, Carson and Bridget--Maria, and her children--Taylor, Miah, Caden, and baby Ryker--and Fluffy, the cat.  It's hard to stay in a bad mood with nieces and nephews climbing all over you!  Not only do Maria and Ana have us laughing in a matter of minutes, but within the hour I have 4-year-old Bridget sitting on the back of the couch to play with my hair.  ("It stays!" she says in astonishment when she flips my hair over my eyes.  She tries to mimic it with her stick-straight hair, but it just falls perfectly back into place.  She looks disappointed.)  Caden (5 or 6), comments that my ring is really sharp, and I tell him Ricky bought it for me so I could defend myself against predators.  Caden's eyes get really big. :)  Baby Ryker tries to eat my cell phone (he has this thing with gadgets--he also tried to eat Ricky's laptop), I talk to Carson about orchestra, and in the meantime, Ricky is switching our flight home the next morning so we can leave at 3:00 in the afternoon instead of 7:00 a.m.  Good call, because it's past midnight and I'm so tired I could even fall asleep with Bridget on my head.

Eventually we get to bed, then we say goodbye to Maria and company in the morning as they head back to the airport.  After a few more hours with Ana and crew, Ricky and I are back at the airport.  I'm disgusted by the whole business at this point, but as long as I don't have to spend any more time in Denver I think I'll make it.  And, coincidentally, I do.  We have a small layover in SLC ("Hey look, a temple!" "Where?" "There!  And there's another one!") and then make it back to Dulles at 11:30 without a hitch, grab the car, drive the hour back to my parents house, sleep for 6 hours, and leave at 7:00 to get to BV by 9:30 so I can shower and make it to work by 11:00.

Craziest.  Weekend.  Ever.  We still cringe when we think about all the people we didn't get to see, but getting to see Ricky's family made up for a lot of the heartache and headache. 

So why the title of the post?  Well, if you'll remember, the crash on 95 was because of a truck clearing snow.  If it hadn't been for the snow, the truck wouldn't have been there for the man to crash into, we would've made our flight, and it would've been peachy.  Let's say that the man hit something else instead and we still didn't make it to BWI in time.  Well, if it hadn't been for the snow in all the southern airports, we would've been able to get a flight to Boise and it STILL would've been peachy.

Thus, snow is the nemesis of humanity.  In all reality, though, that's way too much coincidence to be coincidence, especially since we did everything right and still we couldn't make it out there in time.  We figured--and still figure--that Heavenly Father had different plans for us that day.  Why?  I have no idea.  But that's where faith comes in, right?


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

on how honeymoons are fickle creatures

So here it is.

THE EPIC HONEYMOON STORY. (And following weeks.)

First off, let me just say that my wedding day was phenomenally fantastic. It downpoured for two days before the Big Day, and everyone was already expressing regret and advice--"Oh, I'm so sorry it's going to rain! Make sure you take more pictures inside to compensate"--for what they saw as an inevitable disaster. (Little did they know, it rained on Sara George-Kreider's wedding day and nothing was any worse for wear!) Nevertheless, the guardian spirits of weather must've known that I wanted to actually do my hair for my wedding, because it didn't rain. Not only did it not rain, it was beautiful! Sunny and only partly cloudy and like, 40 degrees...which is practically summer for all those who have survived the Virginia Precipitation Catastrophes of Winter '09/'10. The temple was beautiful, as always. The temple ceremony was fantastic, as I expected. All sorts of fabulous people came to D.C. for this wedding, including my bridesmaids, 4 out of 5 of which had to fly/drive some remarkable distance to be there. (Thank you, bridesmaids!) We got so many presents we had to make a second trip to NoVA a week later to get the last half. My makeup did not run, my hair stayed curled, my dress fit, the right food was served, I actually got to EAT food, the cake was delicious, and (what I was most concerned about) everyone looked happy. Like, everyone. Even if they weren't, they faked it very well for my benefit. Anyway, the moral of the story is that everything that could've gone wrong that day did not go wrong. (Take that, Murphy!)

Fast forward to Monday morning, when we're scheduled to fly to El Salvador and then to Costa Rica for the most epic honeymoon that there ever was. First, we leave all the things we don't need in Ricky's car at the hotel, which my parents would later pick up, then we catch the shuttle to Dulles Airport. Halfway to the airport, I clutch Ricky's knee in horror and practically yell, "CAMERA!"--indicating, of course, that I've left my camera in my purse, safely tucked into the backseat of his now-forsaken car. "Oh well," we decide, because there isn't anything we can do without missing our flight. Luckily, both our phones have picture/video functions, so we're sure we'll be fine.

We check in, get through security and to the gate without a single hitch...or line! Apparently Monday mornings are very slow flight days. Off we go to El Salvador! It's all very exciting, and we even get an in-flight meal.

When we land in El Salvador 4 1/2 hours later, everything is very green, and there are lots of trees that remind me of Africa in the sense that they stretch out very wide and flat. You know what I'm talking about. Anyway, it's deliciously warm--but not too warm--and I feel like an idiot carrying a wool peacoat around all these short-sleeved El Salvadorians. Anyway, we stay at the same gate we just got off at for our next flight, which leaves in a very short 40 minutes, and I try and make sense of the foreign language everyone is speaking. Namely, Spanish. Did I mention I don't speak Spanish? I don't. Ricky does, but no one believes him--in fact, when we board our flight to Costa Rica, Ricky says "good morning" in Spanish to the flight attendant, who English. Yes, I did have a good laugh about it, but not a very long one because the flight to Costa Rica is only an hour.

Flying over San Jose, Costa Rica is nothing like flying over Dulles, or Charlotte, or whatever American city you're in. In America, you see all these neat-and-tidy little subdivisions, with nice spacing between houses and backyard pools and cul-de-sacs. In Costa Rica, there doesn't seem to be ANY space between any buildings at all, and the roofs are all different colors, and it almost looks like houses are trying to climb on top of each other. It's cluttered. And before you say it, I do know that this is a developing country, but still--it's very different once you're there and actually experience culture shock. Anyway, after landing in Costa Rica, we retrieve our luggage (something I had been worrying about the entire flight sequence because of the events in the life of one Sara George-Kreider, who lost her checked luggage on her honeymoon and had to wear the same clothes for four days) and exchange our money and go find the cab/shuttle driver who's taking us to our hotel. We do, and he does. It's a hotel in the city, but there's such a thick barrier of trees seperating it from the main street that you can't hear a thing except birds and bugs and what sound like monkeys...and probably ARE monkeys.

Notes about this hotel:
-the soap smelled like grape Now-and-Laters
-toilet paper = trash can. The septic systems couldn't handle it.
-"Dora the Explorer" was Spanish. Exclusively Spanish. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of Dora? Shouldn't she be teaching Spanish-speaking children how to speak English?
-seriously, I would not be surprised if those were really monkey sounds

The next day, Ricky's uncle David (Da-veed) picks us up in his Geo and it's off to our beach hotel! A note on Costa Rican driving: if you've ever been on the streets of New York, you have it good. Costa Rican drivers make New York drivers look like kids on Big Wheels. Or maybe even tricycles. The situation in CR wouldn't be so terrifying if the roads weren't curved, hilly, cut into the sides of mountains, narrow, and often one-way...but alas, they are all of these things at the same time. David, fortunately for me, speaks English--not an extensive amount, but enough to communicate without a problem. I do, however, make the mistake of asking, "What does the zig-zag white line in the middle of the road mean?" "Zig-zag?" says David. Ricky, in a vain attempt to illustrate, draws out the motion in the air with his finger. What the heck is the Spanish word for "zig-zag"?? We'll never know. "It doesn't matter," David continues. "Whatever it is, people don't pay attention to it anyway." Comforting. All I know is that people are crossing double yellow lines at well over the speed limit like it was the rule. For a while, I get caught up in the amazingly incredible views from the mountain roads, only to be jerked back to reality when David tells us a story about a woman who died "on this road, I think," because the guy driving the car rode the brakes too hard, they gave out, and he abandoned ship. As in, he jumped out of the car and it careened off the side of the mountain...and the other passenger died.

The good news is, we don't die. We do see some wicked huge crocodiles, though, and I hit myself for not bringing my camera because the zoom on my phone is terrible. Anyway, we get to the beach hotel.

Notes on THIS hotel:
-individual cabin-houses for each guest/family, complete with bathroom and porch and all that jazz
-private beach. As in, miles of private beach. And with only two or three other families there at the hotel with us, it was REALLY private.
-pool, with beautiful treeline view. Ricky and I sat on the edge and watched a flock of parrots (yes, a flock of wild parrots) circle over our heads a few times.
-restaurant, with perfect view of skyline and sunset (and free breakfast before 10:00!)
-hammocks! Big ones!
-there were no monkey sounds, but the parrots sort of made up for it

The beach itself is fantastic. It's dark sand, which is b-e-a-utiful, but HOT. Hotter than any beach sand I've ever touched. So hot we have to leave our shoes practically at the water line to walk to the ocean without losing the bottoms of our feet. However, the water is the perfect temperature, and there are tons of those adorable little crabs that scuttle from hole to hole in the sand, and pretty shells, and sand dollars, and even complimentary beach chairs so Ricky and I can sit in the sun and read our books for as long as we can stand the sun. We get a teeny bit sunburned, but only enough to make us think, "Man, all of our friends are buried in snow right now! Aren't we lucky?"

On Thursday, we go to Jaco (Ha-co), the nearest actual town (~30 minutes away from the hotel), to go shopping. We pick up the cutest salt-and-pepper shakers (shaped like hugging dolphins) and a beautiful wooden clock (hand-painted with a night scene of Costa Rican rainforest) and sunglasses and a photo album and a big, beautiful, photographic picture book version of Peter Pan that Ricky found in a used bookstore! It isn't in Spanish, but somehow it made it's way to Costa Rica, so now I have copies of Peter Pan from Europe AND Central America! Cool. :) I have my eye on a bag, but I figure I could find one I liked more when we got to the interior part of Costa Rica the next week. Little do I know....

We grab a taxi back to Esterillos (Ess-te-ree-jos) Este, where the hotel is, and go back to our normal beach routine. The next day, I'm not feeling so well...

...and so we watch some movies and stay inside all day to avoid the sun. I don't have any appetite, but I wonder if it's just too much sun exposure. And by no appetite, I mean I ate two bites of pasta for dinner (after not having eaten since breakfast) and couldn't physically eat any more. Ugh!

Saturday, we pack up and head back to San Jose/Alajuela (A-lay-huay-la) to spend the weekend with Ricky's grandparents, whom he hasn't seen in years. It's a grand reunion! I get to meet not only his grandparents, but numerous aunts, uncles, and other relatives I don't remember the names of. Only about three in the group speak any English at all, so it's a fun guessing, miming, head nodding/shaking game as we try to convey meanings. Ricky does the best he can with translating, but he's also getting accustomed to being in an all-Spanish environment, so sometimes it's a struggle. Later in the night, we go to Nino's (Ricky's uncle) house for some fun couple games, like having the husband guess things about the wife. Ricky and I play against the older, longer-married relatives and get the best score. If you'd like to know why, it's because years ago in Mod 7, we all made notecards with our favorite foods, songs, movie, candy, flowers, etc. to give to future significant others. Well, when Ricky and I had been dating for a while, I gave him my notecard (he kept forgetting my birthday!), and he's used it as a scripture marker ever since. As in, he sees it every day. So basically, the only questions about me that Ricky missed were 1) my favorite food (I have two--he picked the one I didn't) and 2) the name of my maternal grandmother. Isn't he awesome?

Sunday I'm feeling really terrible, but I don't want my new extended family to think I'm a weeny, so I'm up and ready for church. Going to church in Costa Rica is VERY bizarre. For one thing, every piece of land in San Jose is gated. Not just fenced, but seven-foot-high, barbed wire-topped gates, with bars over the doors and windows. Why? Because crime is a problem, and the police don't do anything about it. So when we arrive at the chapel, someone has to unluck the gate around the grounds, drive the car in, lock the gate behind us, and then we have to open the barred door to get inside. There isn't carpet, only tile (probably because it's cooler), and when sacrament meeting is over, the chapel is split into three parts with accordion dividers for Sunday School classes. Then, since there isn't a nursery, all the kids that aren't old enough to be in Primary gather in with the Relief Society/Elders' Quorum for a 5th Sunday Lesson. All three church meetings are completely in Spanish, so I spend a lot of time translating Spanish hymns and trying to match them up with their English counterparts, and reading my scriptures. (I sing all the hymns in Spanish, by the way. Ricky is very impressed. Thanks, Chamber Choir!)

After church, I flop down on the guest bed and don't get up the whole night. I feel awful. Abuelo ("grandfather") makes me this delicious herbal drink from these seeds, and it makes my throat feel better, but I still have a high fever and no desire to move, ever. There's no air conditioning, which normally isn't a problem, but since I'm burning up I'm even more uncomfortable. On top of that, I can't sleep--outside, election week is coming up, and people are in the streets yelling and car honking and generally being noisy. Then, at 5 a.m., I'm awoken by a rooster. Yes, a rooster, in the capital city of Costa Rica. It was very weird. The moral of the story is that I'm not sleeping well the entire weekend, which means I'm even sicker on Monday. Our plan is supposed to be to leave from Ricky's grandparents' house and go to a hotel in the rainforest, but at this point we're not sure I'm going to make it. My glands are swollen, my fever is high, and my throat hurts like a best, so instead we go back to the first hotel we stayed in--the one in the city, by the airport. On Tuesday morning, when I'm literally crying from pain and the inability to swallow and/or eat, we're positive that I'm not going to be making it to any rainforest...which makes me cry more, because I was really looking forward to it (duh). Ricky, being the new and zealous husband that he is, gets on the phone with TACA Airlines and changes our Friday flight to that afternoon, costing us an arm and a leg but ensuring that I'll be able to see an American doctor the next day.

The flight is one of the worst things I've ever experienced. Because I can't clear my ears from sickness, I can't equalize, which means takeoff and landing make my eardrums and my brain scream in agony. Again, Ricky is trying ever-so-hard to take care of me, but the poor guy is at a loss as to what to do. After many painful, painful, PAINFUL hours, a few bites of dry airport sandwich, and about 10 Tylenol capsules, we make it back to Dulles a little after midnight. My poor father didn't get my email that said what time we'd be getting in, so he waits at the airport from 6:00 until 11:00 p.m....arriving back at the house around midnight, just 20 minutes before I call to tell him that we've landed. So, he comes back, we get our luggage (still there), and trudge through the newly-fallen snow to the car.

The next day, I wait the eternity until 2:00 when I have a doctor's appointment in NoVA. My poor mother takes me to a doctor who has fooled her into thinking he is a nice person, which he is not. His first order of business is to not check my eyes, ears, or nose, and jump straight to my throat, proclaiming that I have mono (apparently Ricky had it in high school and the germs can reactivate every few years in and possibly strep. Did I mention that he has a yuppy med school student with him, the same age as I am, dressed impeccably, with expensive boots and perfect makeup? Yeah, that's helpful, especially since I'm in the same sweats from the day before, no bra, and with huge dark bags under my eyes. (Did I mention that when they weigh me, I clock in at 120 pounds?! That's between 10 and 15 pounds lost in a very small amount of time.) Anyway, the doctor says he's going to do a culture sample to check for strep, which as you may know, involves swiping your tonsils with a long q-tip. Well, I have a terrible gag reflex, and last time a doctor tried to do this, I dry heaved and came very close to puking my guts out. Since my throat is so closed I can barely breathe, I tell the doctor that the strep test/me throwing up would be a REALLY bad idea. As in, "step off, you quack!" My mom asks if I can do it lying down, which has proved to be helpful before. You know what the doctor says? "Don't be ridiculous. I'm highly skilled at this." Who are you, Dr. Gregory House? Quit trying to show off for your intern and listen to me, jerkface! So what does he do? Sticks the thing down my throat. What do I do? Start gagging uncontrollably, which means I can't breathe through my already narrow airway and also irritates my tender throat, which makes me cry from pain (again). At this point, the intern is looking very uncomfortable, I'm furious, my husband is flabbergasted, and the jerk doctor says to me, "Now don't be like that." I thought I was going to hit him! Or, at the very least, throw up on his stupid lab coat! I told you he was a terrible person. Then he asks if I can "handle" a blood test, which I say that I can (I'm speaking in whispers because now my throat is a raw mess), and then he sends me down the hall to do a urine sample to. The intern escorts me there, along the way asking me if my "tummy" hurts, and explaining how to use the urine cup with the "potty" (I am not exaggerating--she really used those words). In addition to being humiliated and puffy-eyed, I am also exhausted, because that's what mono does. The blood drawing goes off without a hitch, and I sit on the floor while they work out my insurance.

FINALLY, I make it back home, and I spend the next 5 days lying on the couch sipping chicken broth through a straw and watching "Law and Order." My parents pull a twin mattress up from the downstairs room, and Ricky sleeps on the floor next to me in case I need something in the middle of the night...which I do almost consistently, because I either wake up from pain and need painkillers, or from cold and need another blanket, or from choking on my own mucus and need water. He is a very dutiful husband during this time. :) I'm also taking medicine the doctor prescribed to get rid of the strep throat/mucus on my tonsils. Little do I know, the aforementioned imbecile of a doctor has given me medicine extremely similar to penicilin, which he knows I am allergic to (because he asked me right before he prescribed it), and which makes me break out in a very itchy full-body rash. (When we looked the medicine up on WebMD, it even says that those allergic to penicilin should avoid it. Great.) So now I am itchy, mucusy, feverish mess, and my speech is so impeded by the swollen glands that I (no offense intended) sound very much like a hearing-impaired person. It's not a fun time, but eventually I feel well enough to come back to BV. I stop taking the medicine, because the mucus is gone and I'm uncomfortably itchy, and I take the week off from work because I can barely stand up long enough to take a shower. After a week of rest, we drive back up to D.C. to fly out for our Idaho reception, and whole other saga begins...

[to be continued]

Monday, February 22, 2010

on how marriage is akin to space travel

The dating game is a funny business. First, there's pressure to go on dates in general. After a few dates, there's pressure to become "a couple." After an extended (or not-so-extended, depending on who you are) period of being "a couple," there's pressure to get engaged. If all these steps you've been pressured into were not steps you actually wanted to take, you probably then will not get married. However, if the logical sequence of events DOES lead you into the depths of matrimony, as it has with me, there is then pressure to have a child, or multiple childs, or--at the very least-- to have a blog. Seeing as how I haven't yet mastered the successful caretaking of a beta fish, I decided that perhaps a blog was a safe bet, and I promised Ricky I would take care of it all by myself.

The tagline for 2001: A Space Odyssey is "Let the Awe and Mystery of a Journey Unlike Any Other Begin," and this how I feel about marriage. Ok, so experiencing married life in real time isn't a mystery at all--in fact, Ricky and I are pretty much the same as we've always been, except I have men's shaving cream in my medicine cabinet and less closet space. It's more the thought of what marriage will be in the future: careers, school, children, family vacations, grandchildren, various successful endeavors, retirement, etc. If those things don't inspire "Awe and Mystery" at this stage of the game, I'm not sure what else there is!

So besides the obvious "Journey Unlike Any Other," how is eternal marriage like space travel? Well, for one, once you're out there, there's no "eject." No bailout. No abandon ship. And on a two-man ship, it's virtually impossible for you to make it back home without the other person. You take turns steering the ship and listen to each other's advice. You get to experience all sorts of cool new things at the same time. Even if you're working at opposite ends of the ship all day, you still come back to the same place to sleep. You know each other better than anyone else knows either of you, because it takes a long time to get where you're going and you're in close quarters 24/7. The ship is bound to have some technical issues, but you learn how to work those out. Even before going into space, you trained for a long, long time--knowing what the conditions would be like, what kind of person you needed to be to make it a successful journey, learning the controls, and even getting to know the person you'd be with for the entire trip. Because you trained so well, you really enjoy the trip! Even from the very beginning!

See? They're practically the same thing. No one is allowed to say anything about space food, though, or I'll track you down.

Of course, marriage/space travel is pretty smooth sailing until you hit, say, mononucleosis/an asteroid. That might set you back. And on THAT note, I'll tell you that I will be highlighting my epic newlywed adventures in a near-future, extremely lengthy blog post. You'll read it, because you already know it's a great story. I mean, really--who else do you know that had to come back from her Costa Rican honeymoon early because she got mono and strep throat, went on to have an allergic reaction, then missed her own open house? ...Exactly.