Friday, February 26, 2010

In which we get married and Sly and Doris get drunk

September 2008 and yes, it is 2008, not 2007, as I had been posting. We got married in 2008. 2008. I am not a details person. I know that. That's why when I was working, I always made sure to put a details person on my team. I hate the small stuff. Let someone else deal with it.

Primo was incredulous yesterday when I called upstairs* to ask him what year we had married. How could I not know? But my brain is full of more important things, like why the concept of limited government is important, why we need to keep the electoral college instead of going to a popular vote and what's the frozen custard flavor today at Kopp's. Besides, I don't need to remember the little things. I am married to him. The Rememberer.

OK. I'll tell you a quick story. Then we'll get back to our wedding and I promise today will be a happy post because yesterday's was a bit of a downer. A few years ago when Alberto Gonzales was being questioned about things that had happened six months prior, I commented that who could remember what had happened that long ago?

Primo said, "I know what I was doing six months ago."

I said, "OK. What were you doing on November 21?"

Primo said, "I was in Cedar Rapids with a customer. Rockwell Collins. It was a Thursday."

I said, "You're making that up."

So he pulled up the calendar on his computer and darned if he wasn't right.

Still, I think that's a waste of brainpower. Does he know what shoes** I was wearing when we met? Ha. Now that's an important thing to remember.

Back to our wedding. It's Thursday. My sister is the first one to arrive. I pick her up at the airport and we goof off all morning. Freedom! She has not been to our city as an adult. We drive along the waterfront, stop at a coffeeshop. I tell her about the miscarriage because I HAVE TO TELL SOMEBODY. Plus, she's a nurse practitioner and just in case I pass out or start to hemorrhage, it would be a good idea for someone else to know what's going on.

I realize that the "Don't tell anyone you're pregnant before 12 weeks" rule is just stupid. Anyone who's reading this who is pregnant and hasn't told, TELL. Or at least tell your mom and your sister and your best friend. Because if you have a miscarriage, you are going to tell them about it and then all you get is the crummy part about telling about the miscarriage but you miss the fun part about telling about the pregnancy. The rule is STUPID. Yeah, don't tell the whole world. But tell your close friends so at least you get the joy to balance what might be the crap.

Then she takes me to get a manicure. After that, we have to go back to the house. Ick. But at least I have company. I have not told her about Sly and Doris' shenanigans, not because I want them to be protected but because I know my sister would scratch their eyes out and I don't need life complicated that way.

We have more buffers. Primo picks up my brother and his brother Ted, who is a good distraction for Sly and Doris. I like Ted. Again, proof that genetics are not destiny. How Sly managed to produce decent children I do not know. Sly and Doris would have you believe that Ted is a pompous bag of wind (pot, kettle), but I like him. I also like the fact that although Ted has a retarded son who will never live on his own, you don't hear him complain or whine about how unfair life is to him. Ted has always been cheerful and positive when I've been around him.

My mother and Dr J arrive. They have driven from Dr J's home in the northern part of the state.

With all these people around as protection against Sly, Doris is happy. She likes people. Sly bullies her and keeps her isolated. I don't know why she lets him get away with it. It's not as if she doesn't have anything he wants. As in - and you might want to avert your eyes here - Sly bragged to Primo about his cialis prescription. Why Sly thought that Primo would want to know that information about his father I do not know. Why Sly thought that was appropriate information to share with his child, albeit an adult child, I do not know. Why Sly has apparently never heard of the word "boundary" I do not know. He was an English professor. Surely that word has crossed his vocabulary.

But Doris is smiling. She is laughing. Wow. I have never seen her like this before. It's amazing what she can be like without someone bullying her. Amazing.

So. We are having fun. We are ignoring Sly's pontifications and pronouncements and arrogance and he is bewildered that We Don't Care about his Obvious Superiority, although Dr J is so gracious and sweet that he will listen to Sly without complaint. Sly is comforted that At Last, here is someone who is his Intellectual Equal.***

Claudia and Chloe, Primo's stepdaughters from his marriage to Isabel, arrive Friday morning.

We get married Friday afternoon in a quick Lutheran ceremony with Father T, a Catholic priest, in attendance to give it the imprimatur of the Catholic Church. He and Pastor G share the service. When Father T says something about "unit," Primo and I look at each other and think, "He said 'unit!'" Then we have to look away from each other so we don't burst out laughing.

After the service, my mom talks with Pastor G about Norwegian immigrant life on the prairie and family history research and Lutherans, of which my mom's father was one. Ted talks to Father T. Everyone has fun.

Ted takes Sly and Doris back to the house so they can drink. The rest of us go to the lake so we can take more photos, photos that do not contain Sly and Doris and that they subsequently whine about not containing them. Whatever, Sly and Doris.

We meet at the restaurant for our wedding supper. Primo and I get there first. I wonder where everyone will sit. I do not want to sit by Sly and Doris. I don't want to. Why should I have to? I have had to eat with them five nights already. It is my wedding supper. I have not been a demanding bride. I have not asked for much for my wedding. But dammit, I do not want to have to eat with Sly and Doris for my wedding supper. Is that too much to ask? Is that too mean? Is that too selfish?

So as soon as Chloe and Claudia walk in, I grab them. "Sit here," I say. "We've hardly had a chance to see you!" I do the same with my brother and sister. There. Now I am surrounded by people I like. I feel bad for throwing my mom and Dr J to the wolves, but they are taking one for the team. It is their wedding present to me.

There is a lot of drinking going on at that end. Not my mom. Not Dr J. Not Pastor G. Not Ted. But Sly and Doris. After Sly's toast in which he does not mention my name once, I walk over to make an obligatory hostess pass. Not that it's so horrible because I like Pastor G and my mom and Dr J and Ted. But when Doris pats the seat next to her and indicates she wants me to sit, I roll my eyes. Oh good grief. Now what?

I sit. She is weepy.

Why? Why is she sad? This is a wedding. Be happy, dammit.

How can she be this far in her cups? We allowed one cocktail before supper and brought a limited amount of wine. We did not want this supper to turn into a drunkfest. We were very careful about how much liquor was served.

Ah. But the pre-supper drinking at the house.

She is weeping and telling me how Primo is her Only Joy. How his toddler years were the Happiest Time of Her Life. I have heard this line before. Yeah. Whatever. I pretend to be nice. Smile. Pat her hand. Think, Lady, this is MY WEDDING. MINE. Could you please just let THIS be about ME for ONE SECOND? PLEASE?

I put on a convincing act but I am a little ticked off. We couldn't go one night without Drama? It's not like I haven't sucked it up for Doris and Sly all week: given them our bedroom, gotten them a newspaper every morning, bought them Lactaid because they are lactose intolerant except for our expensive Carr Valley cheese that they eat instead of lunch, set up a stereo in the living room, made a full supper every night, etc, etc.

Can't she suck it up for three hours? Would it kill her? It's NOT ABOUT YOU, DORIS. IT'S NOT.

But it is. It's always about her. Even the onion rings I didn't eat are about her.


I say something nice, extricate myself and see to my other guests. Who, except for Sly, are all happy. Having fun. Real fun, not drunk fun.

That night is when Primo promises me that Sly and Doris will never live with us. I love Primo. And he lives in the same house as I do and Sly and Doris live 1,000 miles away, so I guess it's OK.

* Oh like you don't call rather than walk up a flight of stairs. Please.

** My gorgeous red snakeskin high heels.

*** I would say that a cardiologist outranks an English professor. Indeed, Sly is probably hoist on his own petard here, for just last Christmas, Sly was complaining about his former colleague who had an EdD but insisted on being called "Doctor." When I asked what an "e d d" was, Sly told me it was a doctorate in education. "So he was a doctor," I said. "Yes," Sly sniffed, "but it's a lesser degree."


  1. Some people have no concept that life can EVER be about anyone but them. My ex MIL grabbed the mike at his brother's wedding and did this huge drunken toast that said nada about the bride. Awkward.
    But you won; you got Primo!

  2. Maureen, maybe we need to start a treatment center for self-centered people. Get insurance to pay for it. We could get rich.

  3. One of the funniest comments I heard was at a military school ceremony (the Air Force's graduate school).

    They introduced the guest speaker ( a medical doctor) with, "But he's not a *real* doctor -- he doesn't have a PhD!")

    The grad students in the audience cracked up.