Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve. We decided not to go out to a party or bar, and instead have a nice dinner and drinks with our friends (the also newly-married) Megan and Alex.

It was a great time, and unfortunately, the only picture I took all evening was this one during the two minutes that they spent checking their dog, the Captain, for fleas.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trying to use up a big chunk of my leftover FSA money before the end of the year (when the OTC allowances get a lot stricter).

I sort of felt like a character from AMC's 'Breaking Bad.' I hope no one thinks I'm making meth.

(Also, I know what all those acronyms mean... now.)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We decided to go with the classic, "Do you take Sarah to be your lawfully wedded wife," and "with this ring I thee wed," and "you may kiss the bride."

And by classic, I guess I mean the way they do it in movies.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It was an expensive year, so we kept the Christmas gifts to a minimum.

("What did you get each other for Christmas?" "A wedding.")

Sarah framed this wedding picture for me for my desk at work.

I gave her 'Halo: Reach' (which she asked for, I swear).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Remembering Sarah's homemade picture ornament, I took a look around my parent's tree, but didn't find any ornaments with me on them. I did find one of Allie and one of Julie, and here's one of Sherry (I wish it read, "Sherry Christmas!").

Mom: You never made one in school. That's why there isn't one of you. Do you feel left out?
Me: No. Not really.
Mom: You could make one. Make one for next year and I'll put it up.
Me: I might do that. Only because I think it would be funny to have ornaments of the girls as kids, but me as an adult.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The traditional day after Christmas Pizza Hut lunch with Grandma.

Driving out there, Allie and I tried to remember how long ago it was exactly that Grandpa Ralph had passed away. I guessed twenty years, but in reality it was closer to ten.

Grandma: That's a beautiful ring.
Sarah: Oh, thank you.
Grandma: I still wear mine. See?
Allie: Grandma, why are you wearing it on your middle finger?
Grandma: It doesn't fit on my ring finger anymore. So I put it here. But now I can't get it off.
Me: It's stuck?
Grandma: It's stuck.
Dad: Just use cold water.
Me: Or butter, right? You could get it off with butter.
Grandma: I think I'll keep it on.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day in Ohio. At Julie's house.

The mandatory singing of Christmas carols before opening presents didn't go over so well this year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve in the suburbs with Sarah's family.

I found this homemade ornament on the tree of Sarah as a child.

One of Sarah's Uncles: Enjoy these Christmases as just a married couple. Once you have kids it changes. It's nice, but... after this party I have a whole night of putting things together ahead of me.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The day before Christmas, the office is pretty empty.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The t-shirt game continues.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Went to see Shad's last show at Second City last night. I got to sit right behind his wife.

I'd never noticed before that his picture is on the cover of the Food and Drink Menu. He's pretending to be an audience member. It's almost as if he's laughing hysterically at his own show. "Ha ha! That Shad guy is great!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

I took this picture one year ago.

Sarah's Facebook Status Today: "On this morning last year I was still single. But not in the afternoon."

We've accumulated a lot of anniversaries, it seems. Anniversary of when we started dating. Engagement anniversary. Wedding Anniversary. We've Been Married This Many Months Anniversary.

When does it filter down to just the wedding anniversary? Next year? The year after. I'm not saying I'm not enjoying it, I'm just wondering.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yearly Christmas dinner with the dudes. We usually go out to a fancy restaurant, have some drinks, catch up.

This year we went to Red Lobster. It started off as a joke, and somehow turned into, "fuck it, let's just really go to Red Lobster." A little bit "it would be funny," a little bit "it's been an expensive year" and a little bit, "why not? who cares where we go honestly, we'll have fun."

Nick: When I came in the door the hostess immediately said, "Are you with the seven?" The Seven. It's so ominous.
Me: Like we're a secret society.
Nick: And she knew right away I was with you guys. No hesitation.
Me: Maybe you walked in with the exact same level of ironic enjoyment.
Hansen: Anyone else ordering a Lobsterita?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

This is how I really ended my vows. The morning of the wedding I noticed something in the pages I'd been keeping in my back pocket for a week. So, I ad-libbed this:

"There's actually a typo in this last part, but... I'm just going to read it as it is. 'I love you Sarah. I excited to be your husband.'"

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's the little things.

I made a special point of using a clicky pen during my vows, because I thought it would make it just a little bit funnier. Pull out pen, click click, check.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Allard: Your wedding is finally over for me.

Here's Allard with his certificate of completion for the six hour on-line safe driving course he had to take for the speeding ticket he got on his way to my wedding.

Allard: Here... you can have the certificate. Put it in your wedding scrapbook.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My (probably too long) wedding vows:

"It was never a question for me that I’d want to write my own vows. It’s important to me to let you know, in my own words how important you and this day are to me. But that said, the traditional wedding vows are pretty classic."

And then I ad libbed the bit, "Like Toto's 'Africa,' they're awesome."

"'I take THEE, Sarah to be my lawfully wedded wife, to love honor and cherish, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better and for worse, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, til death do us part.' Those words are burned deep into nearly everyone’s thoughts about what a wedding is. So, I thought I’d quickly talk about what those words mean to me.

"First, 'to love.' Easy, done. I love you like crazy. And I feel that love deepening every day, and becoming more a part of who I am."

Pulling a pen out of my pocket, "So, let’s check that one off the list.

"Okay, next, 'to honor.' I actually had to think about that one. What does that mean, exactly? It’s one of those words you just kind of brush past without thinking about. Is it like the old creepy 'to obey' that people don't use anymore?

"I looked it up and it has a lot of meanings, like 'to worship' or even 'to pay.' But the one I like is 'to hold in high regard. To respect.' Respect isn’t a very romantic sounding word, I respect you, but I do respect you, I hold you in very high regard, and I think that’s important."

Crossing another line off with the pen, "So far so good.

"'To cherish.' Yep. Check.

"Okay… 'to have and to hold from this day forward.' This one is kind of funny to me. 'From this day forward' is like, 'Okay, starting NOW I’ll be good, I’ll be good to you. Let's wipe the slate clean.' And I guess that’s what a wedding is, that’s the whole point. This is the moment. But, and not to take away from all of this, I’ve felt bound to you, deeply connected to you for a very long time now. Plus, who are we kidding, I’ve had and held you before today, so to speak. I think we still get this one."

(No one seemed to catch the slightly dirty joke at the end of that last bit, which is maybe for the best, although later, when a family friend of Sarah's sent us a video he'd recorded of the ceremony, you could hear him chuckling a little to himself. So, it did not go entirely missed.)

"'For better and for worse.' We’ve had some of both, but you always make the worse better and the better… also better. Basically you make things better.

"'For richer and for poorer.' I’m in for it. I’m excited to eventually get to the richer part...

"'In sickness and in health.' I find this phrase taking on more meaning as I get older, as you start to get hints at the curveballs life can throw at you. And we've only experienced very minor things, but it's good to know you're there. For instance when I hurt my back, and I could barely walk or stand..."

(I think this is the moment when this picture was taken by the way, the moment Sarah realized what story I was about to tell.)

" helped me get to the bathroom and helped me stand in front of the toilet, and you stood behind me holding me up while I... urinated."

Big long laugh at this point from the chapel. "Now that’s not exactly the most romantic story, admittedly, but it meant a lot. And shortly after that I proposed to you.

"But let’s not forget the health part of that. In sickness and in health. Let’s be healthy. Let’s help each other be healthy. Let’s get healthier together. Soon. I mean, not tonight. We’ve got a lot of booze and cake but... after the honeymoon.

“And finally, 'Til death do us part.' Kind of a downer of an ending. There’s also always, 'For as long as we both shall live,' which is the glass half full version of that. Of course, you once said to me, 'You won’t stop being married to me just because you’re dead.' Which is... fair enough. So, I’m willing to extend our marriage contract, I promise to love honor and cherish you, through the good and the bad... forever.

"I love you Sarah. I'm excited to be your husband."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I had to be out of the house for a few hours while Sarah hosted a ladies-only holiday party, so I tagged along with Shad while he did some Christmas shopping.

Shad: These days when I go out on errands, it turns into an excuse to sneak off and eat at the places my wife and I used to go to before the baby.

We shopped a little. We ate a lot.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sarah took this picture a couple days before the wedding.

She was saying that she hadn't written her vows yet, that she didn't even know where to start, and she asked me if I'd written mine.

I said, yes, I had, and in fact, for the last several days I'd had a copy of my vows sitting my back pocket, so I could look at them whenever I had time, so I pulled them out and held the pages up in the air and said, "Here they are. They're right here."

Sarah yelped and put her hand up, blocking the pages out of her view. "I don't want to see them!"

For the next couple hours I would occasionally pull the pages out of my back pocket and hold them up, just to get a reaction out of her.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The holiday parties keep coming. Today, the Whirled News holiday brunch.

Many of the Secret Santa gifts revolved around everyone's new favorite game of having one person pick a slogan, and another pick an image idea (both without hearing what the other has suggested) and then turning them into an awesome t-shirt.

That's how Steve ended up with a shirt with a wizard and the slogan, "WHO YA GONNA Call.." and Glynn ended up with a shirt of a shirt with "two seventies guys shaking hands" and the slogan "You Can't Tame the Beast."

(It's worth mentioning that I took this picture during the exact moment Glynn realized he'd sat in quiche.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Last night was the office holiday party.

Me: Allard, Poland, get over by the cardboard cut-out and I'll take your pictures.
Poland: Oh here we go. This willl end up on his blog, with some kind of strained explanation about how this has something to do with his wedding.
Me: No. I don't think this'll make the blog. It's too long a journey to explain the Steve-o cut-out.
Poland: Oh, you've traveled further.


So... someone posted an embarrassing photo of our coworker, Steve-o, on Facebook. A picture from high school of him in a production of South Pacific. Allard and Poland immediately grabbed a copy of the picture and began photoshopping it into every picture that floated around the office (sometimes subtly, sometimes not). So, for the holiday party we decided to blow the photo up and make a standee out of it, so everyone could take their picture with it. Sort of a real-world photoshopping.

Also... Poland wore that vest to my wedding.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Leading up to the wedding day, we were really worried that it would rain. Even the day, the forecast was for occasional showers.

But then, that day, it just cleared up. You couldn't ask for a more beautiful day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Volunteer Day at work. About half the office spent the afternoon at the Greater Chicago Food Depository, helping to package the food that is distributed to the needy throughout the Chicago area.

Since I'm tall I was put on pasta shoveling duty. I shoveled a ton of pasta. Literally a ton. Over two thousands pounds of pasta.

My arms hurt.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The whole time Sarah said her vows, a big fly kept buzzing around my head and landing on my face. I swatted it away once but it came back. I didn't want to draw too much attention to it, so I just let it stay there, sitting on my face. You can see it in the wedding video.

When we were done Sarah swatted it away for me.

Me: That fly won't leave me alone. [big laugh from crowd] Boy, this country wedding was a great idea. [bigger laugh]

Monday, December 6, 2010

Growing up we used to always get small gifts in our Christmas stockings on December 6th. St. Nickolaus Day. Something like that.

Sarah put the stockings up over the weekend, so I snuck out and put some candy in hers.

Sarah: It's such a fun surprise. Although I feel bad that I didn't get you anything for your stocking.
Me: Don't worry about it. I've got you.
Sarah: I'm your present? [laughs and looks down] Well, I am wearing your socks.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I've been asked to tell a Christmas story as part of a holiday storytelling series at the iO Theater.

So, for the few of you out there who wish my blog posts were much longer and didn't include any pictures, you should come see me tell the story of The Santa Problem this Thursday at 10:30 at the iO Theater, as part of Holiday Punch in the Face.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rehearsal for a Sketchfest show. The festival started ten years ago, and the group the Backrow did their first sketch revue that first year. And they've done one every year since.

Ten years of Sketchfest. Ten years of the Backrow.

I actually bowed out of doing the last few Backrow shows because I was too busy, but I've decided to come back for the tenth (and likely final) show.

Each year there are more children and babies at the rehearsals.

Here we are doing an initial read-through on one of the sketches, making a point of carefully skimming over any dirty words that we'd prefer the children didn't hear.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Meador stopped by to give us a wedding gift.

We'd told him not to get us anything, that officiating our wedding was present enough.

Meador: I took that as freedom to get you whatever I want, and not something on the registry. So I got you... Settlers of Catan!
Sarah: You didn't have to do that.
Meador: And now I can come over and play it with you guys. Can you play with three people?
Me: I have no idea.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The toilet in my hotel room.

Someone scratched out the BEMIS logo so it now reads PENIS.


Poor BEMIS. But they should have seen this coming.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

While running these workshops in Massachusetts, I've been working with Meridith, an improviser and actor who I used to perform with years ago in Chicago before she moved to Denver.

Meridith: It's good to see you!
Me: It's good to see you! It's been, what? At least five years. More?
Meridith: I heard you got married, congratulations.
Me: You as well.
Meridith: Now... did you marry... the same... was it the girl you were...
Me: [laugh] No. Not the same girl. Different girl.
Meridith: Ah. [laughs] I thought so. Because that was a long time ago. But hey, I'm not married to the same person I was married to then, either! So...
Me: We've both had some bumps in the road since we last saw each other.
Meridith: Some.
Me: But we're doing great now!
Meridith: We're doing great now!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Somewhere outside of Boston.

Living out of a hotel for a couple days while I help run some workshops teaching corporate executives the benefits of improv.

Early in our relationship, Sarah spent part of a year living in Boston. We did the long distance thing, and I visited her there numerous times. I've never been to Boston without her, in fact, and I was thinking it might be odd to revisit the place when she wasn't along.

But really there's no time to know that I'm anywhere besides working in a conference room and sleeping in a hotel.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Mom sent this picture from Thanksgiving of me holding Tate.

She wrote, "It looks like Tate has a certain finger up!?!"

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Back in Chicago with our new Black Friday-purchased comforter set.

(Farewell, old bacon colored comforter!)

It's great. Soft and warm.

But... it comes with a billion pillows. I don't mean to be a classic dumb male, but... do we need all these pillows. Obviously we don't NEED them. The new routine, as I understand it, is to take most of the pillows off at night and then to put them all back on in the morning.

I'm blessed to be able to sleep in a bit longer than Sarah most mornings, so making the bed is my job. That's fair. I don't mind it. But I suspect that this new arrangement is going to make me start feeling like the Sisyphus of decorative pillows.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We visited Sherry's new house where she and Allie only-half-jokingly gave us the hard sell on moving back to Ohio.

Allie: We could find you jobs!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Another peek at Thanksgiving.

My sisters (and Mom in the back) looking at our professional wedding photos. They were a big hit, but no one seems to ever like pictures of themselves.

Everyone took turns saying, "Oh I look terrible" or "No, you look great."

For the record, they all looked great.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It was great to see my nephews Ty and Will, and of course little baby Tate there in the background.

They got a little riled up (it may have been my fault) and occasionally Julie, their mother, would say, "Guys... if you're not good, Grandpa won't let you run around in the gym."

They were excited to hopefully get a chance to run around on the basketball court where my dad coaches.

Dad: You know, I'm not 100% sure we can get in there.
Mom: Really?
Dad: I'll have to call security. It's not like the old days when I could just go in whenever I wanted.
Julie: [laughing] Uh oh. I've been telling them we'd go if they're good.
Me: Well.... then... we may just have to tell them they've been bad.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ohio for the Thanksgiving holiday. I hadn't been home for Thanksgiving in maybe five years so Sarah and I decided to make the trip.

Mom: Did you bring back our wedding pictures?
Me: Oh yeah, we burned CDs of pictures for everyone.
Sarah: No, I think she means their pictures. That we borrowed.
Me: Oh crap. No. Sorry.
Mom: It's okay.
Dad: It's fine. It's not like we're going to look at them.
Mom: Well, I look at them sometimes.
Dad: Oh really? I don't remember the last time I saw them.
Mom: Not often. But I look at them sometimes.
Me: We'll bring them at Christmas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The leftover wedding booze (and Sprite) is long since gone now, but we still have an insane amount of plastic cups.

These are just the ones in our house. There are several more bags in the trunk of my car, so I'm ready to be "that guy" at a potluck at a moment's notice.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I drive to work most days. Except today Sarah accidentally headed off to her job with my cars keys in her purse.

Not a big deal. It happens.

It figures, though, that this afternoon we had some of the most torrential rains I've ever seen in Chicago.

Sarah and I rode the L home together, and then ran from the station to our apartment through rain that seemed to come in bucket-fulls from every direction.

So, we got soaked. But we got soaked together. (...but it was still her fault)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sarah's vows:

"Arnie, I’m going to say this and you will know exactly the compliment that it is. Before I met you, I thought I was the stupidest person I knew. And then I met you. And you are the stupidest person I know. And you know what I mean… in a way that no one else does.

"I will never forget when we first started dating, and one Sunday morning you got up and you put on Toto's 'Africa.' And I said, 'Arnie, what are you doing?' And you said, 'I’m just making sure this song is still awesome.'

"And then… every Sunday for two months you played Toto's 'Africa' to see if it was still awesome. And we did it together.

"And every time… [getting a bit choked up] ...every moment that we have… and every hard day after work, or any great moment when you make me laugh and I don’t expect it, you remind me, that you’re awesome, and I’m reminded that you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

"And… that’s it!”

Saturday, November 20, 2010

These are the things on my bedside table. Tooth whitening strips left over from before the wedding. Books I'm reading for pleasure and a couple books I need to read to prepare for a corporate training seminar I'm going to help run in a couple weeks.

And that's how I ended up using a whitening strip as a bookmark in a book titled 'CHARISMA.'

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finally getting around to burning the wedding ceremony to DVD so I can give a copy to my parents. It's a slow process, waiting for the video to "render," watching as it replays the ceremony excruciatingly slowly, frame by frame, stretching each moment out.

I suppose it's somewhat like reading this blog, as I spend a whole year talking about this one day.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Since it wasn't a religious ceremony, strictly speaking, we weren't sure what to call the homily portion of the proceedings. While putting together the script for the program I put in "More Talking" as a placeholder. We thought that was sort of funny, and accurate, so we kept it.

Stacey: As stated in your program we have now come to the part of the ceremony where we will have “more talking.” By me.

She then went on to read a very sweet passage from her favorite book, 'The Little Prince.'

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I don't think I've mentioned yet during this blog that I also have a podcast. It's called Stupid Nerd, and I interview friends about nerdy things they're into that I don't know much about. The Green Lantern. The Twilight books. Cryptic crosswords.

Now that the wedding is over, I've had time to record some new episodes. For this week's podcast I interviewed Ellis, who is into Live Action Role-Playing. Once a month he goes out camping in the woods and pretends to be a gypsy fighting elves, trolls, pirates... that sort of thing.

In fact I found out that part of the reason he and Thea missed Sarah and I's wedding was that he was off LARPing that weekend. Which is a pretty decent excuse if you ask me.

Here's an excerpt from the podcast:

Me: Do you think Thea, your wife, would ever go and do this with you?
Ellis: No, of course not.
Me: How does she react when you talk to her about it?
Ellis: I don’t talk to her about it.
Me: [laughing] You don’t talk to her about it at all?
Ellis: She used to talk about how cool it was that I could talk to her about it, but I noticed if I told her more than one thing… she would eventually tell me that it was bothering her and that she didn’t want to hear about it.
Me: Really? Literally that it was bothering her?
Ellis: Yep. She was like “I don’t want to hear about it.” I mean, you’ve got to understand, you spend a weekend… I went into a town that was overrun with zombies. We freed the town and killed the zombies. It was super cool to be a part of that. It was really really cool. And then… there’s no way I can make that cool when I talk about it to her.

You can find all the episodes of the Stupid Nerd podcast (including this one, episode #33) here or you can search for "stupid nerd" in iTunes.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A few more e-mail updates from my mom.

My sister Sherry bought a house and moved in with her two dogs. Mom took pictures when she and Julie and Julie's sons came over to visit.

The caption Mom wrote under this picture is pretty much a great three sentence short story all by itself.

Reading the e-mail, Sarah said, "Sherry has a house?!" in a tone that implied that maybe we shouldn't live in a city where such a thing seems so outlandish.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Took this picture of myself on my way into work, thinking I'd add some funny caption like, "This is how I look now. I've let myself go a bit since the wedding."

Looking at the picture, though, it's weird to see how annoyed I look at the person taking the picture... who is, you know, me.

I guess I've just discovered what I look like in the morning.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My dad's birthday.

Mom sent me a few picture from a couple days ago, when my nephews visited him in his office before his first basketball game of the season (which he won). There were also cupcakes.

I'm excited to see all these dudes very soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sometimes I have the bad habit of imbuing inanimate objects with emotions and then feeling sorry for them.

For instance, the first wedding ring I ordered, the one that was too small... it currently sits in the little green bag it came in, next to some loose change, like a little wooden Miss Havisham, abandoned right before the wedding. It makes me feel a bit sad for it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's worth taking a moment to mention our wedding programs, which were beautiful and designed by Sarah's friend (and Glynn's girlfriend) Brooke. (Have you noticed the theme yet of us getting people to do shit for us for free?)

Inside it was pretty standard, except maybe for this bit, which I wrote.

"Deepest thanks to our parents and grandparents for a lifetime of love and support. And to our friends and family for being an important part of who we are. Without you in our lives, we would be different people. Or horses. No, wait, we wouldn't be horses. That doesn't make sense. Things wouldn't be quite THAT different. But still, without you, things wouldn't be the same. Thank you."