As promised, the material from when I was away (finally -- and with some additions where I felt they were appropriate):

(June 6)
It amazes me how integral someone's personality is to our perception of them as individuals. Attractive people can become less so when their less desirable traits come to the fore; people for whom we may have been less attracted can become attractive or even irresistible if we like who they are as people.

I stand at a majestic, towering 5'2", but I have been told many times that I don't appear short, or people don't think of me as short because I have a big personality, or I'm loud, or I have a loud laugh. If I learned or absorbed anything from Mike, that was it. Be bigger than you are, be personality, be known. Maybe he didn't mean to teach that, but I picked it up, and he seems the most likely place I would have learned it.

We were invited to a final viewing today, before the casket was taken to the church. Most everyone there was family; we were one of the few groups that wasn't. There were two rooms; the first held the casket, and the second held all of us.

Groups went in in pockets to pay their last respects. During one such lull, I went in -- the only one from my family to do so. Mike seemed too small, lying there in the casket. He looked like him, yet not. The Mike I knew, even when he was serious or upset, was larger than life, full of personality. He occupied space. He was loud and outgoing, and he had a distinctive, engaging laugh -- everyone knew it and everyone commented on it.

The first time E, his eldest daughter, came out of the room, she went right over to my dad, who gave her a squeeze and held her for a bit before she returned to her mom and sisters. If the situation were the opposite, I think I'd have done the same thing -- that's how our families were, even if we only saw one another once a year. As well, Mike gave great hugs, and used them to great advantage -- when you were feeling down, when he made fun of you, when he wanted to say good morning.

My dad was a pallbearer for the funeral. That was the mildly amusing part -- my dad's an atheist. It was a Catholic funeral. It sorta kinda not really amused me.

My dad's not very good at dealing with grief, and in fact, my family doesn't generally deal whatsoever with any kind of emotion other than anger. After the service was over, my mom, sister and I went out to be with my dad, and he had tears on his face. I'm not sure if that had been what set my mom off, or she was able to let go then, but she let out a little sob and Dad reached out and hugged her and Kim. I stared at the church, trying to keep it together, and Mom tugged me over for a family hug.

Then, in a move completely typical of my family, Mom and Dad picked some cat hair off my blazer and they teased me for having it there. Something about bringing it with me, and I said something about bringing something familiar with me. Ladies and gentlemen, my family.

We were over at the family's house the night before for awhile, and we stayed at the reception for about an hour before returning to my grandfather's house to change, repack and leave. At the time I'm writing this, I'm once again at Nanny's. Tomorrow is the wedding, and then Sunday morning Dad and I take off for home.

I get to throw myself right back into the grind on Monday. I think if anyone asks if I've had a relaxing holiday, or if I enjoyed my time off, I will laugh hysterically until I cry. When Dad was packing today, I asked him if I could nominate this trip as our worst family vacation ever, and he said absolutely.

I think later this summer I will book a week off and travel somewhere. I won't be coming back East this summer, and five days of running around does not a vacation make, so I will treat myself. Hell, maybe I'll just take my first-ever, brand new bikini and just lie on a beach somewhere for a week. Whever I choose, it will be lazy, self-indulgent and pleasant. No tears involved unless it's from getting sand or salt from a drink in my eye.

In the meantime, I'm off to bed. Maybe someone will forget to wake me up tomorrow and I can just laze all day.

(June 8)
Well, the wedding took place. I can't and wouldn't say without a hitch, 'cause I don't think these things ever do, but oh my jeez were there issues with this one.

The short version of it all was that it seemed as if my cousin and her husband were trying to cram too many things into it, too many other peoples' traditions. And because they had so much of that going on, they weren't taking the time to ensure that all the other details were set. From my sister being named in the program as "friend of the bride" to the doves they wanted to release (and the one that my cousing held pooped on her dress -- funny, but just another sign, and one that I also found somewhat offensive to my nanny, who made the dress -- and it was beautiful), from the stepfather having to overshadow our arrival from Ontario with his family's arrival from Windsor, Ontario -- with them taking three days to do it (?!?) when we make the trek in 12 hours... yeesh. These are just the ones that come immediately to mind at 6 a.m. after no sleep, I might add.

Dinner was over a half-hour late getting started because the bridal party was so late... partly because the videographer was late, said my dad (who did the photography, which they acknowledged, though when my mom, grandparents and sister left, a good hour and a half into the speeches (!!!), they hadn't mentioned that nanny made the dress -- with its unique design and ten thousand beads). As I write this, I have to wonder -- what with the kerfuffle over the cost of my dad as photographer -- doing all his work at cost, I might add -- why did they have a videographer? I initially thought she was just a relative, but now I wonder.

Anyhow, Dad and I left the ceremony before the first speech concluded. Apparently the best man forgot to give his toast to the bridesmaids and presented them with pieces of toasted bread. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Nanny was right some livid when she got back from the event, and Mom said she was just crimson. She actually stated she was never attending any of our weddings, and then the lot of us -- Dad, Kim, Nanny, Mom and I, with Puppy passively smoking his pipe and listening -- proceeded to rant about all of the problems with the event. For at least two hours or so, if I remember correctly.

Yes, things happen at weddings. People are late, things get forgotten, plans don't work out... but my cousin lost the garter Nanny made her. The bride's mother gave a taost to how much she loved her second husband and how much he'd done for her and the girls -- what about my uncle? But there are already big issues there. I'm starting to think that, nice as he may have been to the girls, the stepdad seems a fair bit of a pillbox (yes, that's my version of pillock).

As I was saying, in short, shit happens. However, my cousin was supposedly planning this for a year -- yet there was no flow (Mom's words), it took Dad double what he normally uses for a wedding, time-wise (normally he works for 3 hours, and gets all he needs -- today he worked for 6 and had to shepherd a lot, though he said that usually happens), and it was basically just a mess. There appeared to be a lot of unhappy guests, beyond our side of the family, too. I think a lot of the groom's family may be pillboxes (though ours is hardly perfect, believe me -- I know), and it would do my cousin well to move away from her mother-in-law, who is otherwise going to run her life.

My cousin and her bridesmaids (one word, unlike on the programme -- drawn up by the minister/priest/paster, another real pillbox -- with little concept of good grammar or not turning the ceremoney into a stand-up routine/marriage counselling session) had to go sleep over at her mother-in-law's house because my cousin was using her hairdresser. The mother-in-law's hair was more or less piled on her head, and she couldn't have maybe, just once, used another hairdresser? Sure, so could've my cousin, but as was pointed out, the bride shouldn't be spending the night before her wedding at her mother-in-law's.

I couldn't help contrast the whole ordeal (have I mentioned they haven't chosen the location of their honeymoon yet? My cousin wants to visit Ottawa, but her husband is afraid of catching SARS (!!!)) with Greg and Madeleine's wedding the week before. I mean, I'm sure there were problems with their ceremony too, as shit does happen in every situation, but overall it was a much nicer ceremony, it had flow, it had tenderness, and it did not have so many extraneous details.

[here's where I start fleshing for further explanation, 'cause this isn't long enough yet - the pre-written stuff is now over]
We arrived at the reception hall, and there were bottles of stuff for blowing bubbles. There were also favours for the guests (typical). There were bells with little notes attached, asking people to ring them to get the bride and groom to kiss. Yet, when we arrived, the best man made an announcement asking us not to clink glasses or ring the bells to get kisses, but instead, to sing songs with "love" in them. Why bother with bells, then?

My cousin's husband wanted to have a picture of them walking in a nearby pond taken, because an aunt of his had done so and he liked the look of it. What they didn't consider was that this wedding was taking place in early June, and it wasn't a warm day. As my dad pointed out, they would be in the water for about ten or fifteen minutes, setting up this shot, and everyone would be rather blue by the time it was over. Thankfully, they decided to skip it.

However, when my dad showed up to take the photos after the ceremony (after being driven all over tarnation by one of the groomsmen), the father of the groom was handing out beers to everyone. 'Cause it makes sense to have everyone half-cut when they still have places to drive and pictures to have taken. :P

I was worried at first that I was being hard on the situation 'cause it was my cousin, but I wasn't alone. Everyone who spoke on the matter had even harsher things to say than I.

Here endeth the material left over from my "vacation."

No comments: