Tag Archives: marital bliss

The Weddin’, Part IV: MAWWIAGE


So we got married on January 5th, twice, and the second time it was a little fancier than the first.

I’d made this powerpoint of photos of the five of us, arranged chronologically, set to music.  When we met, the younger of The Lovely Rhonda’s two daughters was only a year old, her older one was not quite three, and mine was just turning four.  It’s nearly five years later, so they have changed a bit.

This powerpoint was playing on the gigantic plasma screen in the sanctuary as guests were filing in before the ceremony.  I can’t include the music without paying for some kind of upgrade, so imagine Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World playing as you view it, and if there is time, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds singing You & Me.

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Then when it was time, Sting’s The Secret Marriage.  This is a short song, only about two minutes, and I think it kind of sums up the way it is for people who for whatever reason cannot marry: 

No earthly church has ever blessed our union
No state has ever granted us permission
No family bond has ever made us two
No company has ever earned commission

No debt was paid no dowry to be gained
No treaty over border land or power
No semblance of the world outside remained
To stain the beauty of this nuptial hour

The secret marriage vow is never spoken
The secret marriage never can be broken

No flowers on the alter
No white veil in your hair
No maiden dress to alter
No Bible oath to swear

The secret marriage vow is never spoken
The secret marriage never can be broken

Toward the end, Rhonda’s youngest emerged as the flower girl.  She walked very slowly at first, tossing each hand-selected petal carefully first to one side, then the other.  After a few such occurrences she looked up and realized everyone was staring at her.  At this point she bolted to the front of the church to stand in her appointed spot, mortified and alone.  So I am told, as I was waiting in the entryway of the church like a good bride.  The ring bearers walked out in turn without incident and soon we stood before the altar, our super awesome minister poised above us.

There was a brief pause, and then, a la Peter Cook in The Princess Bride, Pastor Don opened his mouth and intoned:  “MAWWIAGE!  MAWWIAGE IS WHAT BWINGS US TOGEVVAH!  TODAY!”


…Okay, so when we asked him if he would do this for us, he had never seen the movie.  We showed him a clip of that scene on YouTube using Rhonda’s phone and he immediately agreed.  “I’m a bit of a ham!” said he.  We were fairly sure that many of our esteemed guests would be fluent enough in Dorkish to get this, and we were not disappointed.  There was a roar of laughter.  This very neatly set the tone for the rest of the ceremony.

After this there was the usual stuff about what makes a marriage and all that mushy stuff.  There were things we were made to repeat to each other.  Rings were produced.  I helpfully indicated which finger the ring should be placed upon.


At one point the minister asked the assembled guests whether they would support us as a married couple to which, to my great and happy surprise, they responded shoutingly to the affirmative before he could even finish asking the question.

The minister from the church we used to attend was there too, reading poems in between things that we were repeating and so forth.

After the third and last such poem I turned to face the assembly.

“Okay, so, Rhonda doesn’t know about this part,” I said cheerfully, and pulling a folded poem that was tucked into my highpockets (as my Grandmother called it), gave the signal to the computer guy running the show in the back to fire up the secret powerpoint that I had smuggled in earlier.


Here I have inserted the poem into the powerpoint so that both of you can see it:

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I must say that it was deeply satisfying to express all of this in the nerdiest way possible, i.e. using a powerpoint and a piece of paper retrieved from one’s brassiere.

At the end of the ceremony there came that magic moment when you could kiss the bride.  There was kissing, despite the fact that I am not the sort of person inclined to do such things whilst on display in front of my family, friends and co-workers.  It was made clear to me that this was necessary, to the point that bodily harm may come to me should I merely present a cheek for the kiss.

I am told that the flower girl chose that moment to throw, with great enthusiasm, the petals remaining in her wee basket.  This constituted a lot of petals since, as stated earlier, she only cast a few down before stampeding down the aisle in a panic.  Nevertheless, the timing was perfect.First Kiss

We made our retreat accompanied by hooting, catcalls, cheering, applause, and the ringing of a sh!tload of bells, lovingly crafted into beribboned fistfuls by stray members of the behind-the-scenes wedding party (millions of thanks to Bobby and Alison).  The song, not that anyone could hear it, was Lyle Lovett’s She’s No Lady. 

It was, in a word, perfect.

Stay tuned for the gripping conclusion:  The Weddin’, Part V: The Reception

The guy in the place with the thing


So recently in Our Fair State the voters decided it was okay to be gay.

Well, a narrow majority decided that if you’re going to be gay, you might as well be able to share in the abject horror dream within a dream that is marriage.  While you’re here.  In the state itself.  Not so much in other states, except the ten others that agree on this point.

Naturally, many individuals of the homosexual persuasion found this to be pretty exciting.  At last!  Just like the straight folk, we can kiss half our stuff goodbye if things go south!

I kid.  I’m a kidder.

Some people lined up at midnight in your larger cities.  Well, probably just the one.  Washington state really only has one large city.  The Lovely Rhonda and I don’t happen to live there, so that option was not available to us unless of course we wanted to drive for three hours in the dead of night and stand around in the chilly night air.  This would involve a babysitter and all kinds of hassle, so we opted out.

Instead we hustled the kiddies off to school and headed over to the courthouse by way of Starbucks.  Because coffee.

Once we arrived and wandered in the main door, the elderly volunteer stationed there took one look at us — sensibly-shod, traditionally-built women carrying lattes — and directed us to the second floor without asking what we were there for.  “How DID he know?” we marveled at one another.

Upstairs a very dapper African-American gent — he was so dapper that “gent” is the only word possible to describe him — instructed us to pre-register at the handy computer terminal and return to him for one of those take-a-number slips.  He even had a corsage pinned to his lapel.  We found out later that he has worked at the courthouse forever and had toiled long into the night and returned early in the morning to make sure everything went smoothly for people like us.  And he was issued the very first license, to finally marry his longtime partner.

Needless to say it took all my steely resolve not to blubber like a French soccer player.

We got our paperwork all taken care of and a photographer was on hand to take a few candid shots of us afterward.  I was not permitted to keep my latte in hand as was my wish, but apparently this is not all about me.

Afterward we drove away.

I am 45 years old.

This is the first time I will be able to legally marry the partner of my choosing.

*commence blubbering*

It comes in a plain brown wrapper!

The Committee Has Spoken


So probably both of you have heard that marriage equality passed in Washington, meaning that gay folk can finally make their status semi-legal.  Yes, yes, it turns out that several of us are seeking to be bound by the holy bonds of matrimony, and so far eleven states in the union have decided that if we want it that bad, so we should have it, or at least what version of it is obtainable without federal recognition.  Which of course is an ongoing struggle, but not one I’ll go into here.

The point here is that suddenly I’m engaged to be married.  MARRIED.  LEGALLY MARRIED.  (Sort of.  See above.)

When The Lovely Rhonda and I got together, four years ago, it was amid pretty much a metric ton of strife and we clung to each other like life preservers in the boiling seas of nursing school, familial disapproval, societal disapproval, angry ex-spouses, financial hardship, you name it.  Each one of those things could have split us up.  One might expect that perhaps once the stress died down a little (NOT THAT THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED OMG) we might have found that all that stress was the only thing keeping us together, but it turns out that we’re disgustingly happy.  Still.  After four years and some change.

So we’ve chit-chatted about getting married, always in the theoretical, and early on I opined that legal marriage for people like us would not happen in this country in my lifetime.

You can see how well that’s working out for me.


Anyway, the Family Committee has been hard at work deciding things in light of this new development.

It was decided last night over Swedish meatballs at Ikea that yes, in fact, we should marry.

Then later, after we had returned home, three-fifths of the Committee summoned us to Committee Headquarters for a wedding-planning meeting.

Somehow during this meeting one of the Committee members, no names mentioned (IT WAS RHONDA), brought up the fact that the party of the second part had never in fact ASKED the party of the first part to marry her, ON BENDED KNEE AS IS PROPER.  This was expressed with much eye-rolling and tiny jerks of the head to indicate that the party of the second part had best get going on this before the party of the first part lost patience with the whole thing.  Therefore was I obliged to assume the position and make my request.

At this point the party of the second part had to obtain consensus from the remaining three Committee members, and the dog, who all agreed, gravely and with a certain amount of sneaky face-licking on the part of the dog, that it should be so.   And thus was the engagement formally entered into the record, i.e. posted on Facebook.

A sub-committee will be meeting today to discuss food, decor, etc.  It looks like this thing might actually happen, unless of course some more people who want to hog the misery civil rights find another way to try and keep us down.

It turns out we won’t be kept down, and even if it were never recognized, we will still carry on being our gay selves and having our gay families and living our gay lives.  We’re not just pretty strong.  We’re gay strong.


Here’s mud in your hair


So once upon a time I was an elderly nursing student and I met this hot younger woman and stole her from her entirely undeserving husband.

At that time I was not only elderly but experiencing a host of delightful changes related to not being young anymore, including night sweats and general curmudgeonliness.  I was so clueless about this process, which to give me some credit was both horrifying and mysterious, that I went to see the school’s nurse practitioner about the night sweats thinking I was having a urinary tract infection.  This wasn’t so far-fetched as I’d had exactly the same symptoms when I was pregnant.

Imagine my delight when the nurse practitioner informed me that I was starting the exciting journey into perimenopause.  As my ex so succinctly put it, “Oh, they just put the ‘peri-‘ on there to make you feel better!”

I’ll spare you any further details (you’re welcome) except to say that I’m also fortunate to come from a family whose hair goes grey prematurely.  My brother, who is a great guy with just a minor gun fetish, looks like if Santa was a fairly tall,  slim guy with a minor gun fetish.  And no butt.

My eyebrows started to turn white when I was about thirty, and it turns out that once they turn white they don’t really ever turn back.  And it just gets worse from there.  In about ten years I went from being a pasty-skinned, freckled redhead with dark eyebrows (sort of brownish) to a pasty-skinned freckled PERSON WHO USED TO HAVE RED HAIR, with white eyebrows.

The third time someone asked me if I “used” to have red hair, which coincidentally was also the first time someone asked me if I was Delia’s grandmother, was the first time I considered coloring my hair.  Ever.  And when we went to cheer a friend on at a triathlon and that friend spent the evening ruining hotel towels with henna, I allowed myself to be talked into it.

Great googly moogly, that was some orange henna.  I was startlingly bright.  The Lovely Rhonda was pleased with it and so I have never looked back, although we did seek out a somewhat less shocking shade of henna.

For those of you unfamiliar with henna, it’s a plant that grows somewhere more interesting than here, probably India judging from the packaging, and they dry it and grind it up and ship it halfway around the world so perimenopausal women can feel less hopelessly antiquated.  You mix it with boiling water, stir it into a vaguely barnyardy-smelling mud the consistency of poo,  allow it to cool down until it’s still way too hot, and smear it in your hair.  Then you put a plastic bag on your head and play computer games for an hour, after which you take the longest shower ever because it’s the very devil to try to get this crap out of your hair.  And in the morning you look like Little Orphan Annie after a heroin bender.  At least I do, because my hair is long-ish and curly and henna tends to roughen it a little.  I’m told not as badly as harsh chemical dyes, but still.  I go through a lot more conditioner these days.

What amazes me is that every six weeks or so TLR smears mud in my hair, observes me with a muddy grocery bag on my head for an hour, and still claims to find me interesting and lovable.

It Ends Here


Dear The Lovely Rhonda,

Please.  The paella pan?  The large round deep non-stick pan with the stubby metal handles?  The one we use a lot?

It’s non-stick.  It does not need to soak.  Nothing sticks to it.  Hence the term, “non-stick.”

And when you place it across the sink, balancing on its two stubby handles, it is as a pendulum.  And when you fill it with water and allow the detritus within to congeal into an unappetizing sludge overnight, you are essentially setting a trap for the unsuspecting Helpful Spousal Unit.  For when the HSU attempts to tip the horrible pan so that the sludge pours off into the sink, the merest touch sends it into a mad flip, dumping its contents rapidly into the sink and cascading over onto the floor, the aptly-named backsplash, and the HSU.

After the initial shock and the ensuing lengthy swear-fest, the HSU will bend down next to the sink and re-wipe the floor with a soapier sponge than the first try, thereby dragging her hair through some standing sludge-water remaining on the lip of the sink.

So I say it again:  IT ENDS HERE.

Kindly leave the pan down in the sink.

Yes, I know it sits at an angle and can’t soak that way.

And again I say, it does not need to soak.

In fact — and forgive me if I’m getting ahead of myself here — I daresay you could actually scrub the pan, rinse it, and leave it to dry on the stove, and the experience would leave you none the poorer.

In fact, your HSU might stop plotting ways to get back at you and start leaving you little love notes in your lunchbox.

This is about as political as I get.


So a while back, Rep. Maureen Walsh (Rep., Walla Walla, WA) spoke very eloquently about why she supports gay marriage.  I watched the video and was moved to drop her a quick note, as I am sure that she would be getting plenty of unpleasant correspondence from certain members of her constituency.  And others.

I neither required nor expected a reply.  I just wanted to let her know how much I appreciated what she said, and the courage it took to say it.

Here’s what I said:

SUBJECT:  Thank you so much

Dear Rep. Walsh,

I just wanted to drop you a line about your statements at the gay marriage vote yesterday.  Don’t worry, this isn’t hate mail.

I’m a lesbian, I’ve been out for twenty years (so I guess it’s not a phase).  I live in (the city I live in).  I have a partner who I want very much to make my wife.  We’ve been together for going on four years, and I cannot imagine my life without her.  She is my best friend and the Alpha to my Omega.  We understand each other in ways that I never imagined possible.  We’re ridiculously happy.

We signed up for the “Merry Maids franchise” a couple of years ago, and it was less than satisfying.  We found that we could register by mail or in person.  So much for separate but equal.  Can straight folk get married by filing out a form and mailing it with a check?  Sure it’s convenient, but it doesn’t exactly feel like a momentous, life-changing event to drop an envelope into a mailbox.

We drove to the office in Olympia where it could be done in person.  While we were there, I found, we could also renew a business license.  This isn’t exactly the soul of romance, is it?

Moving on to the other benefits of marriage…  the domestic partnership affords a few of these, but to gain others we have to engage a lawyer and shell out thousands of dollars, and frankly some just cannot be had, for instance on the federal level, survivor benefits and so forth.  We are both nurses, and I would love to get a federal job, but too many benefits cannot be extended to my family (we have three young children between us) for me to consider this.

But to me it’s not about those issues.  It’s about the fact that because one of us lacks a certain anatomical feature, we are told that our relationship is less than normal and not on par with that of a heterosexual couple.  Any two straight folk can get married for any reason they like, financial, sexual, just for kicks.  But we can’t get married for the noblest of reasons.

I know that you know all this, I’m just venting.  All this railing against the system can be a bit wearying.

I wanted to let you know that I found your comments to be touching, very much addressing the heart of the issue, and despite your disclaimer, so eloquent.  I thank you for your support and I want you to know that for every hater who makes hurtful comments to you about your vote and your statement, there are a thousand grateful gays and lesbians who thank God for you today.


Today, I got a reply.  It was brief, but I still appreciated it.  Here it is:

Thank you Debra – You vent beautifully!  Maureen

I don’t want to post a link that might break, but I’m sure that the video will be around for a long while.  You can reach it by googling Rep. Maureen Walsh.

Oh, and the “Merry Maids franchise” refers to a comment she made in her statement, about how much she dislikes the term “domestic partner.”  She said it sounded like a Merry Maids franchise.  For this I love her.

Birthday Fun!


So The Lovely Rhonda turns an undisclosed, youthful age today, and to celebrate this we repaired to the beach for grown-up time.

This almost didn’t happen because some child-care arrangement plans fell through, but my adorable cousin Carmen agreed to come stay the weekend with our children.  Despite having met them all before.  We cannot thank her enough, but I do aim to try.

It was especially an issue since the room was prepaid through one of those internet things, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.  It would have just felt that way as we squatted in our hovel surrounded by our grubby, ill-behaved children, visions of gamboling the days away on the endless sunny beaches…

But I digress.

It turns out that January is not the peak season for beach excursions in the northern parts of the Oregon coast.  And it turns out also that the many and diverse storm fronts that have moved through the region, really attacking it from all directions in the past week, make for some interesting driving conditions.  We were fortunate in that the worst of the downed trees, icy roads and power outages were resolved before we embarked on our journey.  However, the rain did monsoon and the wind did buffet our valiant minivan around, and the highway was littered with tufty evergreen twigs and the occasional car in the ditch (facing the wrong way, even).

Nevertheless and against all odds, we arrived, barely, in time to eat at Mo’s as is customary.  When we opened the doors to the van they blew open very dramatically which made us laugh and shriek like the little girls we are.  The server obliged with free ice cream on TLR’s dessert and we sang the birthday song despite the fact that there was only one other table of customers in front of whom to be humiliated.  Tradition must be upheld!

The night at the hotel was uneventful, although I did make the desk clerk laugh.  She asked what kind of car we had and at first we had difficulty remembering the make and model.  In our defense, it was late and we were tired.  Finally I told her that if the Titanic had been made into a minivan, it would be ours.  It turns out that this is good enough for hotel recordkeeping purposes.

The next day we finally emerged around lunchtime to uphold another tradition, the Storming of the Outlet Mall.  I did not photograph this. You’re welcome.

Lunch was had, and we made our way to the beach for the obligatory Stroll on the Shore.  It was actually quite clear and very windy and you could totally see how stormy it had been.  Lots of foam and the beach was rather scooped away.

Lincoln City, OR

After dutifully admiring nature’s majestic splendor for at least thirty minutes (per regulations) we made our way to a coffee shop and obtained beverages and a nifty pack of playing cards emblazoned with pirate facts.  Also some hats, which The Lovely Rhonda models for you here:

Tide's coming in.

We sat and played rummy and absorbed heat from the gas fireplace for a time, then hit a store for comestibles including a bottle of wine.  I do not care for wine, but TLR does.  Off to the hotel!

Sadly, the pocket corkscrew TLR travels with was not up to the challenge and broke off, necessitating a trip to the front desk for some tools.

The monkey pokes the anthill with the stick and licks the ants off, thus demonstrating use of tools.

I am happy to report that the wine was successfully opened and TLR enjoyed it immensely.

Today we revisited the seawall and found that it was raining and windy, and the tide was coming in to the point of splashing over the seawall.  We parked facing the seawall and watched for a while, as did many others.  Next to us was a family in a large beefy manly truck.  Mom and Gawky Teenage Son got out to look while Dad stayed in the truck and occasionally locked Mom out, apparently for his personal amusement.

At one point Mom returned to the truck and emerged with her laptop, which she then used to (evidently) capture some video of the Big Angry Ocean, as we had taken to calling it.  We were deeply impressed with this and so I had to snap a few shots.  I kept waiting for the wind to catch it and sail it into the ocean, or at least dash it to bits on the wet, sandy seawall, but no.  Luck favors the idiotic, so it seems.

As Darwin spins in his grave...

I waited patiently for a moment when the sea would splash over the wall, and in the meantime saw a small be-sweatered dog reluctantly enjoying a brisk stroll in the driving rain and wind.

A fine day for a constitutional!

Every time I tried to get the shot, the stupid kid wandered into the frame.  WHY MUST I SUFFER FOR MY ART.

"Gawky Teen with Seawall, 2012"

At last, victory was mine!

Finally! The Gawky Teen got the hell out of the way.

Then we drove home in yet more pouring rain, the end.

Gaming for non-gamers


An actual conversation:

Me: Oooh, I got a new companion.

The Lovely Rhonda: What, another one?

Me: Yeah.  Some uptight former Imperial soldier girl.

TLR: So how many is that?

Me: Well I have the robot.  The cat-guy. And this chick just now.

TLR: Oh you mean your ship’s robot?

Me: No, it’s a war robot.  Pew pew!*

TLR: So you have four?

Me: No, three.  Oh, plus the ship’s robot.  The irritating protocol droid who stands in the entryway and says annoying things as you go by.

TLR: So you have four?!  No fair!  I just have a healer and Qyzen Fess. (voice drips with disdain)

Me: Ew, Lizard-face?!

TLR: Yeah.  Chuh!  Why you get four?!

Me: Because I kick ass and I’m squeaky clean.  Whatever you say, captain!  On the double, captain!  We can’t let those naughty Imps win, captain!

TLR: You suck.

Me:  Love you too, honey.

*Pew pew is the sound laser pistols make when you fire them.  PEW PEW!  PEW!

When you care enough to scrawl the very best


So the last Mother’s Day that The Lovely Rhonda spent with the Ex-Mr. Rhonda didn’t go so well.   Rhonda recalls that she was working that day, she worked in those days as a CNA a couple of shifts a week, and was in nursing school full time.  She also had two small children (ages 1 and 3).

Those of you who have experienced nursing school will understand that this is like saying, “in her off hours from the prison work gang breaking rock on the railroad with sledgehammers all day, she wrestles alligators down by the river for tips .”

I would like to note that there is a large deluxe grocery store about a half a mile away that sells chocolates, flowers, and greeting cards.  Yet this is what she was presented with:

I'll just leave this here.

It gets better.  The inside:

Because Mother's Day is all about YOU.

Now, to be fair, the grocery store was a WHOLE HALF MILE AWAY.  And then there would have been all those decisions to make: which flowers?  Balloon, or no balloon?  Mushy card, or humorous?  And which of these bottles of red wine goes best with chocolate?  WHO HAS TIME FOR THIS OMG.

She came across this little gem while packing to move out (and subsequently in with me, yes it was scandalous, shh) and showed it to me and I insisted that she save it for me to blog about eventually.  And today is that day!  Because here is the card that I received for my birthday from The Lovely Rhonda:

JUST A LITTLE JOKE HERE. Move along, folks, nothing to see.

And the inside, where she attempted to draw an owl because I like owls:

YES IT'S AN OWL. Shut up.

We were both very busy before my birthday and she talked about getting me a card, but I told her to buy me a latte instead.  And she did, and I also got this.

I sense the beginning of a ridiculous tradition…

We thawed, we roasted, we gobbled


So yesterday was our Designated Alternate Holiday of Gratitude, postponed from last Thursday due to various reasons mainly involving the complex interplay of the juxtaposition of a bunch of stuff nobody cares about.  Actually, it was just the best day to have it on so that our families could attend if they so desired.  This had the added benefit of enabling our exes to have the kids for Thanksgiving also with their families, and gave us a nice day off to loaf.  We spent it eating cheeseburgers and drinking beer in a grown-ups-only theater (not to be confused with an adult theater, this was over-21 due to the alcohol) watching Harry Potter and Friends doing their increasingly difficult and foreboding Thing.

Anyway, back to the DAHG.  We have a tabletop roaster, which is a highly specialized item considering what slouches we are about cooking.  I do own a copy of The Joy of Cooking but when I got to the part about “how to field dress a squirrel” I figured I’d stick with good old Betty Crocker, and she has never steered me wrong.  I have yet to feel obligated to purchase a candy thermometer or anything involving parchment.  But anyway, this roaster makes a particularly excellent turkey as well as freeing up the oven for the twenty seven distinct mandatory side dishes.  Okay, not quite twenty seven, perhaps, but there were several and the oven was in high rotation.

The turkey was delicious, not overly large, and has been sufficiently dealt with such that there is no bulky, annoying carcass taking up half the fridge.  Once there was a day that I would have simmered it down and made soup out of it but I’m just not that into picking bones and little springy things out of scalding hot broth any more, so it was enough to salvage the meat off of it and call it good.  Life is short and chicken broth is sold in cunning little cartons at the supermarket nowadays.  Half the leftover meat will make turkey and dumplings tomorrow night and the other half is in frozen reserve for some future need.

Anyway, this was the momentous First Ever Meeting of our parents, after two and a half years together, and it went smoothly.  We turned on a soothing sporting event for the father figures and before too long we heard snippets of Man Conversation from the living room.  When we heard “30 amp panel” we knew they were on solid footing, and there may even be Man Playdates in their futures.  The moms hung around the kitchen table drinking coffee and talking about grandkids and food and stuff like that.  It was deeply, pleasantly impersonal and I for one am eager to keep it that way.

When it was all over and everyone was gone, we cleaned the rest of the mess up and retired in our clean, warm house to a delightful evening of random heroics and epic quest lines in the land of Warcraft.  Would that every holiday should go thusly.