This Side of Paradise

I am married! Yes, mawwied! [insert voice of Long Duk Dong] [Side note: Sixteen Candles is on Lifetime tonight. Check your local listings.]

Thank you for all the WordPress love and support along the way.  Our week in St. Thomas was the happiest of my life (although admittedly, there wasn’t a lot of competition) and went off with only a few glitches.

Most really weren’t that bad:

  • Alarming speed and grace with which I downed a complimentary pee cup’s worth of Cruzan coconut rum at Cyril E. King airport
  • Ill-timed hair appointment that foiled Jan’s workout the day of the wedding
  • Delayed serving of ice cream at reception, prompting Alex the Flower Girl to tell my sister, “Traci said I was getting ice cream,” prompting my sister to tell me, “Um, Alex was under the impression that she was getting ice cream … can you confirm or deny?”
  • Complete omission of one fruit plate per table at reception
  • Receipt of bill at end of week

One really stank on ice:

  • At the last minute, Keith’s mom had to cancel her trip due to a nasty inner-ear problem that made flying a really bad idea.  Needless to say, this devastated Keith. Luckily, we were able to call Judy on speaker phone during the ceremony and she heard the whole thing.  

There were also countless highlights, but I’ll start with one of the biggest:

  • The beachside, candlelit betrothal of my lil sis /Maid of Honor Jamie to her gentleman friend on our last night in St. Thomas! HUGE congrats to her and my future BIL, and to Jan and Lew, who got both their daughters off their hands in the span of a few days.  Note to Jan and Lew – can I borrow a $100?

Others, for your reading pleasure:

  • The freakish deliciousness of the frosty adult beverage called “Lime in the Coconut” [insert funny 70s song lyrics]
  • The resort’s general manager, whom I’ll refer to as “Jacques,” walking the grounds and chit-chatting with guests in an allegedly French accent. The morning of the wedding, he stopped by our al fresco breakfast table and I expressed some concern that the weather would not hold up. “Do not wair-ee,” he reassured me. “You must undair-stand zee diffair-onss buh-tween REN and LEE-KWEED ZUN-EH-ZHINE.” There is little doubt in my mind he is originally from Queens.
  • Being able to ask, repeatedly, “What do you think this is, the RITZ?!”
  • The remarkable straightness of my hair
  • Experiencing a family vacation as a (quasi)grown-up
  • Beautifying with Jan, Jamie, Joanna, my new SIL Christine, Loren and the littles
  • Walking in the tropical rain at midnight to greet Dave and Rob with a welcome bottle of the aforementioned coconut rum
  • The sight of Alex and my new niece Bella carrying their petal baskets and walking the wrong way on the beach in their matching purple sundresses
  • The remarkable straightness of my hair
  • Walking down the “aisle” with Jan and Lew
  • The toasts given by Jamie, and my BILs Jeff and Craig, and the rhyming poetry of my besties Loren and Deena
  • Standing up for a few seconds on the paddle board
  • Happy, prego Kelly
  • Not puking on the Lady Lynsey cruise to St.  John (shout out to Jeff and Christine for treating us!, and to both my SILs and that random girl from Westchester for being so nice to me during my near-barf crisis)
  • Knowing that the people who matter to me the most  – my blood family, my new family, my may-as-well-be-family, my Philly family – traveled thousands of miles to be there for me

And, above all …

So I married the homecoming king ...

Hearing the barefoot, huge-toed Universal Life Minister – whose ceremony could not have been more beautiful – say, “From this day forward you will never walk alone” and knowing that it was true because of Keith.

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This Side of Paradise

Time and Place

Perhaps I haven’t made it clear why I am crazy. Perhaps you are curious. Perhaps you are not. But either way, perhaps you will enjoy some fine examples of the roots of this insanity, which become clearer and clearer as the wedding plans progress.

Keith and I have decided to get married in the Caribbean. To avoid the paparazzi and jinx-ation, I will refrain from mentioning the exact location at this juncture, but suffice it to say it’s a U.S. territory other than Guam, the water is safe to drink and no vaccinations are required for entry. Unless you are made of coral or eat barracuda (in which case you could theoretically fall prey to bleaching and/or ciguatera, respectively), the prognosis is pretty good.

Here are the reactions I got when I told a few people about the destination.

Jamie:  Can’t wait!

Dave and Rob:  We are there!

Future SIL:  So excited!

Loren:  It’ll be like group vacation!

Lew: 

Um … Lew?

Lew:  [five minutes later] Are you SURE you want to get married there? What about a nice domestic place like Maine … or Cape Cod?

Ah, Cape Cod. Site of at least 10 family vacations and one uber-traumatic barf (circa August 1982). Accessible only via mind-numbing six-hour car ride, about which Lew complained non-stop for two months leading up to each of these family vacations. What a great idea! We can have the reception in the kitchenette of our efficiency room at the Salty Sea Cap’n Motel, where the disposable paper bathmats are decorated with a cartoon map of “the Cape” and the carpet is the softest of Astroturf.  And OMFG! That old man from Nantucket — of every limerick fame — could officiate!

Me: Yeah. We’re sure.

Jan: What about Dave and Rob’s beautiful backyard in Dallas?

Lew: What about … Tampa? Southern California?  [increasing desperation] Gulf coast of Mississippi?! Little Chapel of Love in Las Vegas???

Sigh.

When pressed, neither parent was able to articulate exactly why a five-star hotel in a place where American cell phones worked just fine and to which you could fly non-stop on a major airline was so far beyond their comfort zone [the Upper West Side and three European Union countries]. 

I tried to accept their anxiety and get past it, but, as is always the case, guilt and sad imagery of Jan and Lew began to haunt me. Was I a horrible daughter for asking them to come to a wedding somewhere they didn’t want to go?! Was I being totally selfish?!

I decided to inquire, hoping they’d reassure me with something like this: “Put such thoughts out of your head! This is your day, and we are beyond happy to travel anywhere for you. You’re a fabulous daughter and we love you.”

Instead, the response was more along these lines: “We’d really prefer you get married closer to New York. [pause] But we’ll still come.”

My utter relief was short-lived as they went on to obsess about who would take care of the cat while we were all away.

Jamie suggested we just cancel the wedding, given that it was seven months away and they were still short a catsitter.

Then Jan had another idea.

“You know, Marsha Feldman’s son just had a gargantuan wedding at the Breakers in Palm Beach. It sounded absolutely breathtaking.”

Breathtaking, you say? You know what else sounds breathtaking?! A PANIC ATTACK, which I’m about to have.

Time and Place