Monday, December 23, 2013

A Very Vloggy Christmas.

Merry Christmas, everyone!  In honor of our very first (and only) Christmas together as an engaged couple, we decided to create our very first video blog, chronicling the newly-found joys of appeasing two families during the holidays.  Enjoy!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Our Big Gay Denied Marriage License Application

Ok, yes I know the title is weak and frankly you're probably thinking "I waited a month for this?" but hold on, sit down and let me tell you a story.

So Marriage Equality was about to become the rule of the land whilst Governor Sandwiches (Christie) fought it in the NJ Supreme Court.  We had already made our appearance on TV (did you miss it?) during a Marriage Equality rally, but now we wanted to snatch up one of those licenses right away. But what if Corpulent Christie was successful in his bid to overturn this ruling?  I reached out to a very wise friend of ours, whom I'll liken to our own personal Alexandra Cabot.

You know, whats-her-face....
"Go and apply day one, be the first ones in line."

"Yeah, but what happens if the ruling is overturned?"

"They're not going to take away the rights they've granted, they'll only stop the state from extending them to more people."*this is a grossly over simplified version of what was said.

So we made plans to be front of the line, first thing that morning in Cape May County.  I had recently returned from yet another exhausting stint in Syracuse that Friday.

You know...THIS place (no joke, my hotel was right next to this)
I decided I could take one day off to secure my rights.  All weekend we're on pins and needles.  Brad and I gathered the necessary documents and printed out the application. Waking up early in the morning, we fill everything out and notice that we need a witness when we apply for the application.  Brad opened up the door to his apartment that connected to his parent's house and shouted,

"Dad!  We need a witness in order to do our marriage license application!"

"Ok. Wanna go to breakfast afterwords?"  Yup. That's it. 

As we were getting ready to leave, I opened up my laptop and dialed into The Huffington Post. Splashed across my screen was this:  Chris Christie Administration Withdrawing Appeal Of Gay Marriage Ruling in New Jersey.

"Oh my God!" I screamed to Brad as I yelled out the article that told us we could legally be wed today, in the state of NJ and be finally granted equal standing in the eyes of the state and federal government.  I kept screaming out every single line of the article until Brad chimed in with "Hun, I'm sitting right next to you, you don't have to scream." 

"Well now we don't need to get our license today.

"Yeah, but I still want to."

"Good. Me too."

So the three of us piled into the car and took off for the Cape May County Courthouse in the County Seat. It's an odd building, housed inside of an old high school.  They maintain the theatre for council meetings and the office we needed to go to was located in the old principals office.  It still had the smell of mimeographs and nervous sweat of 1,000 students.

Walking in we're met with and empty room, which shocked us.  We thought it'd be rather busy today. In the distance we can hear a conversation, so we ring the little bell on the desk and wait. 

The conversation continues, until finally a bald, older man in suspenders walks into the room with a napkin stuffed into his collar.  He takes one look at us, gives us a glare and says over his shoulder "I think these people are here for you," and walks away. 

"Nice mayor, huh?"  Brad's father says from behind me. 

"Way to pander to your constituents." I say under my breath.

A woman walks in and Brad explains to her that we're here to apply for our license, we've brought our passports, applications and witness. 

"Oh. But you need an appointment."

"But there's nobody here." I spit out. 

"Well we're the 2nd busiest location for wedding license applications in the state and..."

"Yes, I can see that, but since we're the only ones here..." Brad starts. 

"Oh and you have to apply in your local town."

"I live in Cape May." Brad chimes in. 

"Yes, but not Cape May Proper, you live in Lower Township."

"Ma'am," I chime in here, "That is a Township in this County. Being the County Seat, you are able to process these applications for anyone who lives within the County." Coming from a mildly political family can be helpful sometimes. She sighs. 

"We'll, I can squeeze you in at 1:30. Can you come back then?"

We agree, leaving our applications with her and deciding to head out to breakfast. 

While we wait for 1:30 to roll around, we pick up Brad's mother figuring she can join in the excitement as well.  After what seems like forever (really just 4 hours) we begin to head back, when Brad receives a call on his cell phone.  The woman at the County Courthouse has refused to process our application despite the fact she is required by law to do so. Her reasoning is that we do not live in The City of Cape May, despite the fact that it is the County seat and they are required to process marriage license applications from any town in the county.

Furious, we head over to the Lower Township municipal office to try our luck there. 

"I don't know why you didn't come here first," Brad's mother admonishes as we walk in the doors, "everyone here would know you, your father and I probably taught all of them!"

"Well I just figured the larger court would have it's crap together!" Brad says. 

In 10 minutes with zero pomp and nary a raised eyebrow, we successfully completed our marriage license application. Oh, and yes, my future in-laws did teach the woman processing the application and taught her supervisors children as well. Such is small-town life.

I, of course, filed a complaint with the State of NJ regarding the poor treatment from the Cape May County Courthouse.  The State, of course, promptly ignored it.  Oh well!

Oh!  And the best part?  We later found out we were the first couple in the township (and probably the county) to apply for a same sex marriage license. 
Photograph Courtesy of Dana Lane Photography, LLC. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Proposal....Take Two!!!

Alright.  It’s been a while.  And Sweet Baby Jesus, has a helluva lot gone down since our last blog entry, less than two weeks ago.

Here’s just a quick breakdown of what has transpired within the last 10 days:

  1. Our Engagement Party was held during a full-on Nor’Easter.
  2. I officially moved into Trevor’s place in Princeton while he was whisked away to exotic Syracuse (New York).
  3. Marriage Equality passed in New Jersey!!!
  4. We obtained our license on the second attempt (the first being thwarted by a faded, starving elitist, who fed solely on her sense of self-importance).
  5. We celebrated our two-year anniversary
  6. We tried pumpkin pie vodka for the first time.
  7. We nearly caught fire at a friend’s birthday party.  
  8. We successfully distributed candy to 1,500 trick-or-treaters without so much as one egging.

Each one of these is a separate story and a major deal. (Some more than others.....mostly the vodka).  But I’m going to take this time to instead discuss another event that transpired during the joyful anarchy:

I proposed to Trevor.

OK, so this might sound odd (or even redundant) to some.  I get it.  Trevor already proposed to me so why should I have to do it back?  Did the first time not take?  Well, as I had written before, I had already purchased Trevor’s ring and had it with me the entire time.  Just because he beat me to the punch(line?) does it mean that he doesn't get a proposal of his own?  It’s almost an awkward predicament.  What should I do?  Do I just give him the ring without any kind of presentation, just because I have it?  That didn’t seem fair.  Especially after he orchestrated such an entire production/ambush for me.  After that, my proposal to him would feel like an afterthought.

So.  What to do?

Now here’s the part where I wish I could tell you that my first attempt at proposing involved hot-air balloons, confetti canons, and a guest appearance by a gay icon.  Bette Midler, Cher....hell, even Lorna Luft.  Any of them would do.  But tragically, my plans were not that elaborate.  I actually went among my family and friends, inquiring whether or not any one of them had access to a cow.  Yes.  A cow.  “Why,” might you ask?  Because, dear people, I kid you not when I tell you that this is the classic proposal scene that I wanted to re-enact:

Now, for those of you who border our level of insanity when it comes to being ridiculously large fans of “The Simpsons”, this scene is all-too familiar.  For the rest of you (who have been on Mars for the last decade, in a cave, with your eyes shut and your fingers in your ears), please don’t wrack yourselves, searching for the hidden meaning.  I assure you, there is none.  It’s a cow with a sign on it.  And the most truly amazing part of all is that I know for a fact that Trevor would have loved it!

Alas, things don’t always work out as you initially hope.  Despite my best efforts, no one I knew had a single, available bovine connection.  So now what to do?

A few weeks prior to the Engagement Party, Trevor and I happened to be walking past a local art gallery and he stopped dead in his tracks.  In the front window display, there was a beautiful painting of a Parisian street scene, with the Eiffel Tower in the background, done entirely in black and white, with the exception of one single tree who’s leaves we a brilliant red.  We loved it.  So I went back the next day and picked it up as an Engagement/Anniversary present.  (Incidentally, I am not one to regularly purchase art.  I felt extraordinarily sophisticated that day.)

The morning of our Engagement Party arrived and the both of us were busy in the kitchen making all the food for the 1,800 (ok, 40) friends and family that were arriving.  We were still in our pajamas and neither one of us had even showered yet.  After tackling the stuffed zucchini, Trevor headed upstairs to rest for a bit.  I pulled the painting and ring out of hiding.  To the back of the frame, I taped a thin, silver chain which was looped through Trevor’s ring.  Upon placing it on the wall, I flipped the chain over so that it rested on the canvas, with the ring lying directly at the top of the Tower.  Like you do.

And then I waited for approximately an eternity.  At least it felt that way.

When Trevor came downstairs, I was waiting with my silly, sheepish grin.  I was nervous.  Hell, I was terrified.  Which was remarkably confusing to him since he missed the damn painting!!!  Really.  Full canvas in front of him.  No clue.  

After a bit of coaxing and indication, however, he was very surprised.  So there, in the middle of my small living room, I asked Trevor to marry me.  Perhaps not at all surprisingly, his response was identical to my own.

“I’ll think about it.”

And there you go, folks.  Two total jerk-asses who will surely keep each other amused for the next several decades.  What a shame, though, that we have no photos of the occasion to share....oh wait!  It just so happens that in addition to saving our butts when it came to cooking, serving, last-minute-grocery necessities, and dire Wawa coffee runs, my awesome sister-in-law, Julie, just so happened to be standing by with camera in tow.  And she did really well!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Did You Seriously Just Ask Us That?

Trevor: Like any other bride and groom couple getting married, Brad and I are subjected to any number of rude, invasive and utterly dim-witted questions about our wedding planning activities.  I mean, God love everyone for wanting to be involved and contribute. But as different as we thought this would be, since it's a same sex wedding, everyone is pretty much telling us how different it is not.

Here's a short list of some of the questions we've been getting a lot, the answers we gave and the answers we would much rather have given.

The Money Questions:  Well who is paying for all of this?
Answer Given:  Well....we are.
Answer We Wanted To Give: 

The Guest List Question:  Well you need to invite this person, that person, the other person. (really this is more of a statement than a question)
Answer Given:  *uncomfortable silence* Followed by "We'll be deciding who we invite together."
Answer We Wanted To Give:  Who do you think you are? (a la Patti LuPone)

The Persistent Guest List Question:  Well really, you should invite them, how could you not?
Answer Given:  Brad and I will be choosing our guest list on our own, thank you.
Answer We Wanted To Give:  How could we not?  Easy, we won't send them an invitation....wait....would they bring a nice gift?

The Registry Question:  Why did you register there?
Answer Given: Well it's just the first place we picked and really they have most of what we'd like.
Answer We Wanted To Give: Because it's usually frowned upon to say "cut us a check."

The Why Bother Question: Why are you bothering to get married? Why not just get a civil union in NJ? (to be fair, this one comes from people who don't actually understand the legal benefits of marriage equality...which is 90% of this country)  
Answer Given:  Because our Governor is denying us the rights that the Federal Government would grant us if we called it marriage.  Which means we would pay income tax on our health insurance, be denied equal marriage benefits in the event of an emergency and equal inheritance rights.
Answer We Wanted To Give:  Cuz we want all the free stuff. 

The Everything Is So Damned Urgent, Question:  Did you book the caterer, band, florist, bakery, photographer, elephant, rabbi yet? Cuz you know you need to book those RIGHT NOW!
Answer Given:  Well, it's more than a year out so we....
Response:  But you really need to book them now, they may not be available, or you won't get exactly what you want or maybe, JUST maybe the hellmouth will open up!
Continued Answer: 
Answer We Wanted To Give:  Holy Jesus! I was totally unaware that there were so few wedding vendors!  I had no idea we couldn't go out there and, ya know, just find another one.  Who cares! It's one day in 40-50 years of our lives.  We'll have better meals, nicer flowers, moister cakes and thousands of other pictures.

The Question That You'd Think Would Answer Itself:  Why don't you have a Bridal Party?
Answer Given:  There's no bride.
Answer We Wanted To Give:  Actually, that may be the only question we answered exactly how we wanted to....

The ReLo Question:  So where are you guys going to live?
Answer Given:  Brad is moving in next week.
Answer We Wanted To Give:  Paris. Bitches.

The Spiritual Question:  Are you guys going to have a wedding ceremony?
Answer Given:  Well yes, because it's important to Brad and he feel's it's not a wedding without one.
Answer We Wanted To Give: *censored*  Sorry, Brad.  Seriously, you don't want to see what he said.

Trevor:  So my theory is to just ignore rude questions from anyone who is not directly involved with planning this wedding.  That would be myself, Brad, his mother and my mother.....I should really put a picture up here of her from our last Christmas party......

Brad:  Are you trying to be disinherited?

Trevor:  Good point. Instead, here's another picture of us from the mega-talented Dana Lane Photography.

Brad:  Our engagement party is only in a few days, hopefully we'll have tons of pictures and a couple of good stories to tell. 

Trevor:  Yeah, like how we set the kitchen on fire while cooking all this food.

Brad:  That.....that didn't happen.

Trevor:  Yet....oh wait, we forgot the best question!

Brad:  What?

Trevor:  Which one's the bride!

Brad:  Yeah, we're gonna leave that one alone.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Location, Location, Location (Part 1)

"A venue should be chosen 8-12 months prior to the event."

    So says the book of "Wedding Traditions That Nobody Follows." Apparently a year in advance is the minimum amount of time you have to book....dammit.

"You should use the Skyland Lodge!" Said my sister.

"What about The Manse!" Goaded my mother.

"I think it should be down the shore!" Said another, to Brad's eye-twitching angst.

"It's not legal in Jersey, ya know. It's just basically gonna be a big party." Chimed in a Debby Downer.

"What about the Dirt Mule Mill?"  My sister again...and no, that's not its real name, just an apt description.

To be honest, I hadn't thought about a location. I hadn't thought about a wedding.  Now we were being told we had to select one gaudy location from another?  Blech. No thanks!

Trevor:  Brad?

Brad:   Yeah?

Trevor: I'm delegating this one to you.

Brad:  But you have to like the location too!  This can be fun. We can travel, and scout different locations....


Brad:  Oh c'mon!

Trevor:  Noooope!  You want my opinion, ask my Mom.  Just come back to me with a few options and I'll let you know which ones I like.

Brad:  Trevor!

So I turn my mother loose on Brad.

I'm actually not so sure how that went, I never heard anything about it.

I can only surmise that he (wisely) assumed that no matter what happened, I'd forget it in a bourbon induced haze.

They actually came up with a pretty sizable list of places in short order, so I offered to call up a few and get some pricing. *names have been changed to avoid a lawsuit 

Hazy Coffee Nook:  Mnamna Enterprises, proud owners of the Hazy Coffee Nook, The Tailors Closet, and the Hallway at the John how may I help you?

Trevor:  The Hallway at the...uh...uh...Yes I'm looking to get some pricing information for a wedding in October of next year.

At this point the very polite woman on the other end of the line asks me a billion questions before we get to the point of my call.

HCN:  So the price per head for a wedding of your size would be $165 and that's all inclusive of tax, tip, open bar, cake, cocktail hour and your dinner.

Trevor:  Really?  For everything.  Well that's awesome.

HCN:  However...(aw crap here we go) our location is suited for 1,000 individuals, so you'll want to curtain off some of the space to make it feel appropriate.

Trevor: Oh yes, that's a good idea.

HCN:  That'll be $1,500.  And of course you'll need lighting for the space as well. Now our traditional lighting package runs about $6,000, but if you want your initials lit up on the floor that'll cost an extra $2,000 for the gel and projection....

Trevor:  A gel doesn't cost that...

HCN:  Then of course you'll want linens.

Trevor:  No, I thought we'd eat off the floor.

HCN:  You have your choice of 30 different linens, and those run about $3,000 for the number of tables you'll need.  Then there's the silver fee, the bartender fee, the mandatory valet fee....

Trevor:  If it's mandatory why isn't it part of the price?

HCN:  And lastly, a fee to serve the cake.

Trevor:  Piss off! I'll cut my own damned cake.

HCN:  Excuse me?

Trevor:  I said My Gosh! That's quite a bit to think about.  Thank you for filling me in.

HCN:  Well if I can just get your information...

Trevor:  Nothankyougoodbye!

At this point Brad walks in.

Brad:  Hey hun, how was the Hazy Coffee Nook?

Trevor:  Oh it's totally within our budget!

Brad:  Seriously?  That's awesome, that place is amazing.

Trevor:  Mmhmm.  Only we'll be sitting on the floor, eating with our hands, pouring our own drinks, passing the cake around like a bong and making our guests take turns driving their cars around the block.

Brad: So we can't afford it.

Trevor: So we can't afford it...eloping sound any better?

Brad:  Ass.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Engagement Party

Let us deviate from the topic of Wedding for a quick post, and focus on the even more elusive event known as The Engagement Party.

Brad:  For those of you who aren’t aware, an Engagement Party is basically a mini-wedding.  If  you and your partner are at all uncertain of each other’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to wedding planning, by all means, hold an Engagement provides the best foreshadowing.

Yes, Trevor and I were asked if we would be interested in holding an Engagement Party. 

Trevor:  Literally HOURS after we were engaged, and it was more of a "when" not an "if" question.  Also, isn't this supposed to be thrown FOR us, not BY us?

Brad:  I thought it would be a nice idea for the extended families to meet, so I quite blindly said, “Yes.”


For someone who takes pride in his ability to simplify workloads and manage stress, I may have pooped the bed a little on this one. 

Trevor:  Brad, ew!

Brad:  After several attempts to book local restaurants or venues for the small(er) get-together...

Trevor:  (I know weddings that were smaller than this party.) 

Brad:  Yes, well Trevor and I realized how to spot the businesses that have their act together within one or two transactions.  Unfortunately, aptitude seems to come at a price....and that would be a price that neither one of us is willing to pay for an Engagement Party.  

Trevor:  Seriously, I don't mean to be a downer, but we're already paying for a wedding here.

Brad:  So what do we do?  We decide to host it at my parents’ place!  

Trevor:  In two-week's time!

Brad:  Yeah, well that didn't happen....

Trevor:  Yeah, no...In two-month's time!

Brad:  Better.  Truth be told, I’m actually quite excited to put this all together.  While our family’s have met (Easter was awesome!!), Trevor’s parent’s haven’t had the chance to visit my parents’ home.  So this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get everyone together!  

Trevor:  "Down the shore," as they say.

Brad:  Which makes my eye twitch.  Well, since the Engagement Party will be now held in someone’s home, it’s time for a new we prepare all the food ourselves, or bring in a caterer?
Trevor:  I'm still wondering if we have to do this, but I voted catering.

Brad:  Let me just share with you the response that I received from a local, catering restaurant.  Please note that this paragraph emailed to me is unedited, and was their professional reply to my pricing inquiry.  

“I would rather not compromise the quality if the food for trying to pull this off for you. I a, so sorry, I really tried to work the menu out but rather not take risks. If the party would of being in a different date we could of fully cater for you, but your date is pretty much our last extremely busy weekend in the season and we will be very short in staff to be able to supply you with the team to guarantee the success of the event.”


How much Tense could a Present Tense Tensed, if a Future Tensing could Past Tense?

Trevor:  Don't fail to mention how this eloquent response took four damned emails and also ignored the fact that we just asked for food.  No staff, just food.

Brad:  Right. Needless to say, we will be preparing the food ourselves. Trevor has picked out an amazing autumn-themed menu...

Trevor:  Martha Stewart Power activate!

Brad:  While I (along with his mother) am in charge of the decorations.  I’m pretty happy with this arrangement.  I know this sounds like an unnecessary load of stress, but whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I just remind myself of how lucky the two of us are.  Here are two families, surrounding us with love, and not for a moment labeling these festivities as a same-sex marriage; but simply as a Marriage.  And that feels pretty wonderful.

Brad made me put the cat in this picture...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Stress Fee

Alright, I know that my absence has been nearly palpable and I emphatically apologize for denying you all of the second half of a two-sided account of our own, personal mounting of Barnum and Bailey’s next three-ringed extravaganza.  But before I jump back into mayhem-infused throes of wedding planning, let me first address an important issue that has been plaguing me for quite some time.

HOW are horseshoe crabs still in existence?  Seriously.  People claim that they are the oldest living fossils on earth, yet their entire existence seems dedicated to getting their horrendously nasty selves killed.  After flipping over several of these po-po, armored dinosaurs, Trevor and I watched in amazement as each one went about flipping themselves back over or upon first contact with the ocean, retreating from it in terror.  In short, horseshoe crabs are all missing a chromosome.

OK.  I feel better.  Back to wedding.

Despite popular belief, not all gay men are teeming with wealth and can afford leaving stacks of $40,000 cash as party favors to each of their wedding guests.  If this were true, I would most certainly have attended, if not crashed, every gay wedding within a one hundred mile radius.  Trevor and I are far from destitute, mind you, but due to some substantial, unforeseen expenditures earlier in the year, we have had to tighten the everyday budget.  It happens.  Oh well.  So lo and behold, we’re actually being responsible adults and respecting a budget and searching for venues that are well-within our range.  To our pleasant surprise, several areas have all met our numbers and claim that they can accommodate our guests for the price we have in mind.  Ooooooor so you think.  What they ever so conveniently leave out are the extra service fees which I will now list in no particular order.  Ready?

Site Fee
Utilities Fee
Entertainment Fee
Cake Fee
Bar Fee
Bartender Fee
Valet Fee
Required Purchase of Master Bedroom Suite
Extension Fee
Curtain Fee
Draping Fee
Catering Fee
Mandatory Purchase of Hotel Rooms Along the Dining Area
Attendant Fee
Seating Fee
Tent Fee
Lighting Fee
Monogram Fee
Dry Ice Fee
Lemonade Stand Fee (my favorite)
Mandatory purchase of $3,000+ worth of wine by the case.

I’m most definitely the type to take “artistic liberties”....but I’m telling your right now, I definitely did no such thing for that list.  Every item on there has in one case or another been under a Service Fee list at the bottom of a venue’s criteria.

Is it frustrating?  Yes.  Are we disheartened?  Not really.  I mean, yes, it is upsetting when you think you’ve possibly found THE PLACE where this will all finally happen, only to read that they have a strict Handicapped Patron Fee (“Sorry, Aunt Anna, you just got cut,”).  But it is still fairly early-on in the process and so far we’ve caught every one of these costly annoyances.  And besides, I’m far too stubborn to let any of the unnecessary drama take away from what is clearly the best blessing that I have in my life.

It is a process.  It is an exercise in patience.  In listening, in communication, and in compromise.  And it is a damn good preparatory tool for marriage.

And it is worth it.