1 the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife:
a happy marriage the children from his first marriage
2a combination or mixture of elements:
her music is a marriage of funk, jazz, and hip hop
It’s been a busy year for weddings. The summer has been saturated with them and they’ve tended to be very inconveniently timed. We recently had to speed away from my own dad’s wedding immediately after the meal to make the re-entry curfew of a festival which was originally supposed to be our main summer holiday.
You can drive fast but apparently you can’t outrun the guilt.
Much like a child who eats too much chocolate can’t bear to look at it for a while, so I’ll admit that I’d started to feel jaded about them. Given that this whole ridiculous adventure has been about weddings, it’s strange to have spent the last few months feeling like I wished they’d just chill a bit, spread themselves out and pop along at more convenient times. However life is not convenient and, whilst I’m tempted to used a hackneyed cod-philosophical statement about ‘riding the waves maaan’, what I really want to get across is that good times are not gonna wait for you and you’ve gotta grab good times by the balls and make their eyes water.
It is my pleasure to report that recently the good times have been squeaking like Joe Pasquale on helium.
A thing happened…
So… it’s going to be no surprise to any of you, but there was kind of a wedding thing. I’m not going to go into detail of the day, because it wasn’t my wedding thing and so that honour definitely belongs to Toast. What I will say, however, is that the wedding thing, was flipping AWESOME!
When we started this frivolous wager as a way of coping with serious life developments, it felt so far away to me, like it would never really happen. Perhaps if it hadn’t been for this whole ridiculous venture then it would still be far away; who knows? However watching Toast is his suit, waiting for TP to arrive, I realised how far we had both come in 4 1/2 years. It was hard not to feel proud for both of us.
It was also hard not to be impressed that the respective ladies in our lives had put up with the strange situations that blogging about a relationship can cause especially when real people you know, know about the blog. That’s probably more a testament to their strength of character than to our relationship skills
Whilst I’m sure that Toast will give you a run down of all the important things, there are some things I need to tell you. I need to tell you them because Toast and TP were the focus of the day and so maybe didn’t realise how it felt from the other side.
The ceremony was the best I have ever been to because there were no concessions to who they are. There was no lip service in the form of readings that were ostensibly romantic but ultimately the kind of forced romanticism that can sound false. There was absolutely no feeling that any part was just going through the motions. Everything was perfectly silly but perfectly touching and achingly appropriate. My eye leaked a bit because of some dust I must have got in it.
The speeches were similarly, heartfelt, honest, funny and without a hint of Google’s influence. They all felt like speaking from their hearts about people they care deeply about. The marquee was probably a bit breezy as I got some more dust in my eye.
Toast will also probably not tell you about the really impressive explosive that I and another guest made from the guts of 80 party poppers and which was totally not a like an anaemic, sleepy firecracker.
Jen and I had a thoroughly fantastic time, scoffing, quaffing and dancing like dicks in the company of delightful friends, both old and new. In short: It was pretty perfect.
It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll
This started as bet about marriage. A deadly serious bet. It was a competition and we worked hard at it because it was important. Over time, some things happened, we both met amazing women and life stopped being a game that we played by ourselves but which we played with someone else.
Toast went one way with TP and and I went another with Jen. We now own our own house and have spent the summer gradually reducing it to rubble in the name of DIY and renovations (there is something very sexy about a dust covered lady manhandling an enormous drill).
In December we’re off to Australia for 3 weeks to attend our last wedding of the year: Dragonforce, my erstwhile housemate and landlady at the time of conception of this whole affair. That feels like some appropriate symmetry and conclusion of another part of this story.
The story of this wager has been made up of many smaller stories. Some short, some ongoing and some only just beginning. I have made some dear friends who I would not otherwise have known and done things that pre-wager biscuit would have shied away from and missed out on.
This started as a bet about marriage. A deadly serious bet. A bet that, according to the rules, Toast has won. In ‘losing’, I’ve found my perfect Partner in Crime who I want to spend the rest of my life with and bring up brilliant, ridiculous children with.
If that’s losing then I wish I lost more often.
Today is the official 2 year anniversary of when I asked Jen to be my girlfriend (and she said yes).
To celebrate this we booked a day off work to take advantage of the bank holiday weekend and have 4 days away on a sunny foreign beach for a relaxing holiday.
We missed out celebrating properly last year as Jen’s school friends booked a group weekend away on the only date they could all do so we were determined to make it special this year.
Unfortunately Jen’s Grandpa died rather unexpectedly a week ago. He was a lovely man who she was very close to and it was all a rather horrible surprise. The funeral was on Friday near Manchester so we originally adjusted the plans to fly on Saturday, in an attempt to salvage some of our weekend away, before discovering that there was a big family meal planned on the Sunday, today.
The plans were officially broken. So, instead of the Seychelles, this evening we are staying in a Brittania Hotel in Stoke-on-Trent.
We’re in Stoke-on-Trent as a necessary evil because tomorrow we’re spending the day at Alton Towers for super fun times and it’s only a short drive in the morning. The downside of this, however, is that we’re in Stoke-on-Trent.
On the plus side, if you want to buy a sad looking wedding dress, eat a curry or stare listlessly into the canal contemplating why you’re in Stoke-on-Trent then your desires will be well catered for.
By way of a celebration of our 2 years of glorious relationship we visited Stoke-on-Trent’s second best restaurant. The best restaurant is closed on Sundays. Armed with a carrier bag of Tiger beers, we took our seat in the Indian restaurant, officially doubling the number of diners.
After 5 minutes, 2 families came in and were sat on either side of us, ignoring the 20 other empty tables, and both then got their food first because our waiter had forgotten to take out order to the chef. The small child to my left was playing on his Nintendo 3DS whilst his mum talked about how the “Chechnyan” bombers were brainwashed to be soldiers of God and his dad shot me suspicious glances.
The true delight of this restaurant, however, is the combination of ’80s power ballads drifting around the half empty room accompanied by the silent visuals of Bollywood music videos on the 40″ TV. Jennifer Rush’s “The Power of Love”, Celine Dion’s “Think Twice” and George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” all followed each other as a succession of Indian women and men coyly danced behind fluted pillars, teased suitors and hung off the back off tuk-tuks, hair flowing in the desert wind and somehow all in time to the music.
The whole thing was so hilariously miserable that we almost choked on our bottles of Tiger with laughter. I asked Jen if this was where she’d imagine being on our second anniversary.
Finally, Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love Yous” finished off our will to live so we left our half eaten currys and sloped back to the Britannia.
Perhaps we should have been having a romantic break away, basking on a white sandy beach, but I’ve just given Jen my last Rolo and we’re going to be to watch Breaking Bad. It may not be what we chose for this weekend but what’s most important is that I’m spending tomorrow with the woman I love eating as many giant hot dogs and ice cream as possible then getting violently spun upside down and possibly vomiting bright orange sugary drinks.
And on that note… play ’em out Sexy Sax Man!
There are lots of things I really love about living with Jen:
- She brings home surprise booze and chocolate on a Friday night.
- She humours my increasingly obsessive behaviour with feeding and housing the birds in the garden (and hushed exclamations of “LOOK!!!” every couple of minutes when a tit lands on the window feeder).
- Lazy weekend lie-ins ’til mid-day.
- Doing decorating together (basically giant Lego).
- She organised a surprise Rock Band birthday party for me in the garden under a gazebo, like playing to a really tiny festival and plastic instruments.
- Having my Partner in Crime on hand every day for adventures, My Little Pony and serious high-fives.
However, as the tides ebb and flow and the moon waxes and wanes, so there is also a darker side to living with my girlfriend.
This particular darker side is that she is convinced our house is trying to kill her. Girls are mad.
This manifests itself in a number of ways. Initially it was the belief that the house is maliciously costing her money; the electric shower breaking; the leaking boiler; the doorframe falling apart, the mouse in the kitchen.
It then progressed to an insistence that the house is actively trying to kill her off;
- Trying to freeze her during the snowy weather by euthanising the heating
- Poisoning her by setting the drill battery on fire whilst charging.
- Tripping her up on the gate so she skinned her shin AND cut her face.
- Crushing her toes by moving the landing ladder in the night and making her fall over it.
- Gouging a chunk out of her leg with the stationary Workmate that is propped up against the wall.
The last of these happened earlier today and the first I knew was a banshee cry of “I FUCKING HATE THIS , FUCKING HOUSE!” and a teary Jen looking at a bloody hole in her jeans. To be fair it was a nasty gouge and I would be pretty upset too. Once Dr. Biscuit had cleaned and plastered the wound we had to have a little chat about how the house isn’t really trying to make her life hell, it’s just an unfortunate series of unrelated events.
Once she had calmed down we decided to make banana bread.
10 minutes later the garden hose exploded in her hands, all over the kitchen.
There’s been a lot of big news coming from Toast recently and you’re possibly wondering what’s happening on this side of the wager.
Will Billy escape from the abandoned mineshaft?
Will Susan discover that Jake is her brother?
Will anyone work out what that smell coming from the patio is?
There have been on quite a number of adventures, mishaps and ensuing hilarity but that’s not what you want to know, is it? Well most of it has been pretty awesome (even though it revolves around a girl, who’d a thought, eh?) but some of it has been really hard to write about, which is why I was dodging it for so long.
When this baby hits 88 miles per hour, you’re gonna see some serious shit
Let me take you back in time 9 months…
<flashback>Toast and I were living together in the 4 Xbox household. For reasons that I won’t go into we were faced with a deadline of either moving out in 4 months or buying the house we were living in. With the opportunity to expand the technological empire further we decided to go for it. In retrospect I can see how limiting this would have been on our developing relationships, but when man is blinded by the idea of a robot man servant, or even a robot DINOSAUR servant, it’s easy to get carried away.
This is the first time I had tried to buy a house and it turns out that it’s quite expensive. We spent about 4 months weighing up the pros and cons of Ponzi schemes, life insurance scams and train robberies (although I’m not sure that 13 boxes of Doritos, enough chocolate and fizzy pop to bring on instant diabetes and a train conductor’s hat would have helped us buy a house). Then our deadline was pretty much up.
This is when things got tricky. Toast finally realised that this was out of his reach and decided to make the big move in with TP. This is a pretty pragmatic and sensible decision and is probably what we should have been discussing earlier, however it came totally of the blue and the following day I found myself the sole occupant of the house.
It was a bit of a shock. I was reeling and wasn’t really sure what my next steps were.
With the previous prospect of becoming an eligible home-owner, I had obviously spent time musing about when Jen and I might move in together. In my head, her and TP would eventually move in and sitcom style hilarity would ensue. No… I hadn’t really thought it through. We probably needed at least one ferret and a drag queen to make it sitcom material.
Jen and I hadn’t actually talked about living together at that point. She was living in a shared house with two friends and her contract wasn’t due up until October. I knew that I’d love to live with her properly and we both thought it would be great, although October was a long time to be in limbo before we could find our own place to rent. It was time for some a serious huddle to talk strategy. Jen’s housemates were very understanding and were happy to let me stay for a while to give me a chance to find my feet again.
After a bit of heart-to-heart Jen and I came up with our ultimate plan: WE would buy the house, like motherfucking GROWN UPS!
There are some exciting decisions in life where you get to make grand gestures, big announcements and celebrate decisions by denting the kitchen ceiling with a poorly extracted champagne cork. Unfortunately, when the decision is forced prematurely due to circumstance it kind of takes the shine off the glory.
This is something that we both wanted to do and agreed that we would have been considering moving in together around October anyway but we’d had no time to even get used to the idea before we needed to make a massive grown up decision. It was definitely a much better plan than Toast and I buying together but we would have much preferred to have some time to talk about it, get excited and make the decision ourselves. There wasn’t any time for celebration as we were instantly thrust into the stressful logistics and finances.</flashback>
This is a lot to fit in to one post so I’ve had to skim most of the detail but I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about this decision. It was big and scary but we both really wanted it and were really excited. Having a deadline isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The whole point of this wager was to make Toast and I get off our posteriors and get us some o’ them there WIVES! Without that to motivate me I wouldn’t have learned so much about myself over the last couple of years, had such memorable experiences or met Jen.
DECORATE ALL THE THINGS!!!!
We’ve now been ‘officially’ living together for 6 weeks and it’s amazing. It feels like it’s been months. We’ve got some formidable relationship tests ahead of us including IKEA (the bane of lesser couples) and some mega decorating. Seriously, EVERY wall, ceiling and floor needs to be decorated but I know that we’re gonna lay a tag-team SMACKDOWN on that motherfuckin’ woodchip wallpaper like the Partners in Crime that are!
All our monies are now being poured into this project, which means that grand expensive life events (like expensive jewellery or parties where you dress up in pretty dress and 3 piece suit and get all your relatives and friends together to get drunk and dance to the Grease Megamix) are now FIRMLY off the cards for the foreseeable future.
However, this is the WED or Dead wager, not the ENGAGED or Dead wager.
In an unrelated conversation a friend mentioned that they had heard that Vegas do weddings with pretty much no notice. There’s no reason I mention that, I’m just saying in case someone else might feel like a Star Wars themed wedding but couldn’t wait for a Death Star wedding cake commission to be ready.
That’s the only reason.
Right, next important issue: does anyone know how to remove horrendous ‘70s gas fireplaces without a canary and armed with only a hammer and a roll of gaffer tape??
Silly spontaneous presents are brilliant, whoever they come from. Unless the present is a secret scorpion in your pants drawer or a restraining order.
A great thing about relationships is that you have someone to get silly presents for all the time. They don’t have to be deep and meaningful or expensive to be a good present. They just have to make you grin or cry (in a good way, like when you get a new best gun in Borderlands).
The cool thing about them is that the better you get to know someone, the more the presents relate to a personal joy, secret pleasure or just appease the 5 year old inside.
I recently bought Jen a Lego minifigure. It was sealed in a pack so I didn’t know what I was buying and was in pieces so you couldn’t even stand at the display squishing all the packets to guess what it was. I remembered that I had it in my pocket when we were on the tube so gave it to her.
Disproportionate glee isn’t the phrase to use here! It made me think that I should get her a Lego engagement ring, one with one of those little transparent square one-block micro bricks as a diamond. It would be a lot cheaper but I’m not sure if that’s the sort of area where girls appreciate a quirky gift.
It’s fair to say that she got her money’s worth out of it.
After taking about 3 minutes to open the packet, she then spent about 5 minutes assembling the 6 pieces. Some of this seemed to involve throwing bits of the man on the floor. The figure was one of those soldiers with the massive bearskin hat that guards the queen. The kind that tourists try to get to move.
Eventually, after some gentle coaching on how to fix the gun into both his hands simultaneously the piece was finished and later took pride of place on the bedside table.
Because Jen is awesome, I picked her up yesterday and she said “do you want your present now?”. As I didn’t know there was even a present to be had I said “YES!” through the gritted teeth of excitement, closed my eyes and held out my hands.
On opening I discovered in my hand a packet of mother-loving Star Wars lego!!! YES!
I wanted to play with it then but didn’t think that I had time to put the spaceship together. Jen did say that it wouldn’t take long but I pointed out that a single figure had kept her occupied for about 10 minutes.
In conclusion, Lego is amazing. Girls who buy me Lego are amazing. Girlfriends who buy me surprise Lego are the best girlfriends of all.
Do you reckon that anyone has ever had a Lego themed wedding before?
A quick apology. I’ve been in a downward spiral of absence from here. Much like when you fret about your bank balance so don’t look at it, thereby compounding the problem, so have I been hiding from all responsibilities in a similar way.
Anyway, the excellent Allie,writer of Hyperbole and a Half, explains this so well that I shall simply defer to her and take solace in the joint feeling of overwhelming failure.
More regular service to resume shortly.
(Click this graph, click it now!!)