Monday, May 31, 2010

Yesterday, while having a small dinner backstage before our retirement community show, Steve, who had just received the wedding invitation said, "So, Arnie... tell me... your wedding date... what was the thought process behind that again?"

Everyone laughed, myself included. I re-explained how we ended up with that date, and how we'd decided to embrace it and not feel bad about it.

As we ate, conversation slowly transitioned to everyone talking about that day nearly nine years ago, the kind of thoughtful and reflective conversation on the tragedy that you find yourself having... much less often these days, but still occasionally.

As we finished eating and started to resurface from the serious conversation, back to a breezier tone, I half nervously, half jokingly laughed, "But you'll all have fun at the wedding."

Steve: Oh don't worry. Nine years from now we'll all be reminiscing about the disaster that was your wedding.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Flew into South Carolina for a quick paid Whirled News Tonight road show with Adal, Steve, Marla and Eddie. I tend to do one of these about every other month or so.

You never really know what kind of conditions you're going to be performing in. Sometimes it's great, sometimes it's work. Tonight we found out we were performing in a retirement community. "Most of the audience will be over 55." This was a pretty conservative age estimate.

Instead of mentioning our show, the electronic marquee out front flashed, "MOVIE NIGHT." There was a small poster promoting our show, which read, "LIVE from Chicago's famed iO Theater, Whirled News Tonight." And under that for some reason that we could never figure out, "(Saturday Night Live)." It also described us as the "hilariously funny improvised show that has Chicago in an uproar!"

It was a good show, but it definitely fell more in the "work" category.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Every Saturday night I perform in a satirical news-based improv show called Whirled News Tonight. Two of my cast mates, Alex and Megan, are getting married to each other in July. Megan wasn't in the show tonight because she's out of town on a bachelorette party trip.

Alex: I got some help from some of the girls on the trip and called a restaurant they were eating at and had a bottle of champagne sent to the table. And get this... the restaurant only had one champagne bottle choice on the menu and it was $26. I was, like, alright, $26 it is. Can't be accused of getting the cheapest bottle, it was all they offered! Saved a little money.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hanging out backstage at the iO Theater after performing in an improv show, talking to friend/fellow improviser, Stegmeyer.

Stegmeyer does some professional wedding photography on the side. In retrospect we should have considered hiring him for our wedding, but we didn't.

Stegmeyer: Yeah, I've got a couple weddings I'm shooting this summer and fall. I was just talking on the phone today with a bride about a Halo themed wedding I'm doing.
Me: Wait... Halo... as in the video game Halo?
Stegmeyer: Yep. The groom is a big gamer.
Me: But how are they going to...
Stegmeyer: I don't know. But I'll find out.
Me: Really the only thing I think of when I think of Halo are those giant helmets over the head and face. How could they...
Stegmeyer: Yeah. I know. We'll see.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The response cards have started coming in.

They're designed like Mad Libs (and idea we blatantly stole off something Sarah saw on the internet). We probably tried to fit too much stuff on one small card, making everything a little smushed, but still, we're getting some fun responses.

Here are some of the things our future guests wrote in on the "Exclamation" line at the top of the card:

"Ya'll so sweet!"
"Hot crackers!"
"Molest a penguin!"
"Holy moly!" [my parents]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Here are all the people in my office who are currently engaged to be married, minus Chris who's off getting married.

Front: Evan, Brynn, Dan, Ivan
Back: Gene, Urlakis, Ramirez, Rudra, Me

I suppose, technically, Dan doesn't count because he just got married over the weekend. He kept asking, "Should I not be in the picture? Do I count? Should I hide my wedding ring?" I told him yes, be in the picture, no don't hide your ring... but I noticed that you can't see his ring in any of the versions of this picture.

It's not a huge company. A small division, a smaller division and a handful of contractors. Currently, engaged people make up 20% of the employees.

When this picture was taken, the person behind the camera joked, "Everybody... saaaay, commitment." I guess I'm the only one that fell for it because if you look closely I'm the one person that's talking and not just smiling.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Not my hand.

( fingers are fatter.)

Brett, and old friend who lives in Los Angeles sent me this photo from his phone of his wedding band, along with the message, "I love mine. Get the comfort fit on whatever you end up choosing."

I told him it sort of looks like he's trying to punch me via SMS.

Maybe this will start a trend of my married friends sending me pictures of their rings. Small request, though: it's nice to see faces too.

Monday, May 24, 2010

For those of you curious about Sarah's dress... it's in this box.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A very long phone conference with our wedding planner.

"Wedding planner?!" you say, "What, are you guys made of money?"

No. The opposite actually. The idea is a wedding planner will help us stay in budget. So far so good.

Also, since we're having a destination-ish wedding (only three hours away, but still) it helps to have someone there who knows the place.

Like I said, long phone conference, hours, but we got tons of shit done. And it was easier than a three hour drive.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Today we went downtown to buy wedding bands.

Sarah found what she wanted in about two minutes. Easy.

Then it was my turn. And somehow I just couldn't figure out what I wanted. I kept saying, "Oh, I'm not too picky, whatever really," and then trying on ring after ring after ring, not happy with any of them.

I've never really worn jewelry before. I don't even wear a watch. Everything just looked so foreign on my hand.

At one point I even said, "This is probably the most ridiculous thing I've ever said in my life, but... do my fingers look fat?"

I never did come to a decision. We bought Sarah's ring but I decided to take a little more time to do research, maybe actually make a point to look at some wedding bands out in the wild. See what my married friends have.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Some of you may have done the math to figure out, "oh... they're getting married then?" I mean, you can write "Eleventh of September" on your wedding invitations, but it's still really September 11th.

As we were starting our wedding planning, circling around dates in the fall, and seeing different weekends fall out of contention for various logistical reasons, we eventually had to say, "Ah, screw it, September 11th it is. Let's just do it. Why not?"

When devising the wording of our invites, I briefly considered including, "...on the Eleventh of September (Yes, we know. Don't worry about it.)" I decided against it. For Save-the-Dates we contemplated the phrase, "Never Forget... the date of our wedding," but ultimately didn't do Save-the-Dates at all.

Sarah and I are performers and the majority of our friends are comedians and improvisers, people with, possibly, darker than average senses of humor. Someone suggested we get two really tall cakes. Someone else joked that our first dance should be to Springsteen's 'The Rising.'

One upside, though, is that it was the easiest weekend to get the biggest blocks of hotel rooms. Apparently it's not a popular weekend for travel.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We had our first lost engagement ring scare.

Sarah: I can't find it. I know it's in the apartment, though. I remember... last night... I was doing... something... and I took it off and set it down and I remember thinking, "This is not a place where you normally put your ring. Don't forget it." But now I can't find it. Oh no, what if it's gone?

It really didn't seem to be anywhere. I said, "Don't worry, we'll find it tonight, it will turn up," even though, honestly, the doubt was starting to creep in. Could it have gone out with the trash?

Then, as I was leaving for work, I looked down, and there it was between the kitchen counter and the trash can. A particularly unsettling spot. You can see it in this picture if you look closely.

I walked over to where Sarah was still searching.

Me: Before I go... [holding up ring] Will you marry me?
Sarah: You found it!
Me: See, you were right, I did propose to you again.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My parents stopped in Chicago for a quick dinner on their way from Ohio to Galena, where the wedding will be held in the fall. They have a little window of time between my dad's basketball season coming to a close and before his summer camps begin, so they wanted to drive to Galena and "check the place out."

Mom: You know, for when various family members ask about this or that, so we have a sense of the place.
Dad: Don't worry, I'll check out the golf courses. I can be in charge of organizing tee times.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An office pre-wedding party for my coworker, Chris, before he flies off to England tomorrow to prepare for the ceremonies. Is it still called a shower if it's for a guy?

Chris and I started at the company the same week, years back.

Chris: I'd like to thank everyone. This means a lot. I started working here, what... four... and a half years ago. When I first came here I was [laughs] sort of lost. I wandered the desert... for a day.

This part was actually literal. He took his first vacation to go out to Arizona and spend a week finding himself in the desert, until he figured out he was ill-prepared (not enough water) and came back early.

Chris: This job was the first big step in turning things around for me. And then the second was meeting Nimi.

Later, he had to leave work early to have his teeth whitened.

Monday, May 17, 2010

We've begun getting text message confirmations from guests that our invites have arrived. Texts like, "Lucky us!" or "Lucky me!"

Sarah is as giddy as I've seen her since the engagement. I asked her why this step specifically has her so excited and she laugh-yelled, "It makes it seem REAL!!"

It might be a guy thing, but paying the first deposit made it seem real to me.

Maybe that's what all this wedding planning is about. A series of steps towards making it seem real.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

We're pretty much on-schedule wedding planning-wise.

Still, I catch myself thinking, "Four months! How can we get everything done in four months!" Then I remind myself that it was approximately four months ago when we started all this planning. I think of all the things that can be accomplished in four months. Four months is enough time.

But still... four months!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sarah: I feel like you’re going to propose to me again tonight.

This is something Sarah says from time to time.

Me: You say that, and you’re joking and it’s funny... but it also kind of seems like it’s true. You do keep thinking I might propose to you again.
Sarah: [laughs] It’s true. I think, before we got engaged, when it was coming, I thought about it so much, always thinking, is it happening tonight, is it happening tonight, tonight might be a good night to propose. And then after it happened, I’d catch myself still thinking it sometimes. Ooo…it could happen tonight… oh wait… it already happened. And I still catch myself thinking it every once in a while. It happens when I’m especially happy. This is a good day. Today would be a good day for him to propose to me. Today feels special.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Today I accidentally broke the pull tab off of the zipper on my jacket. And it made the zipper stick. I could zip it up higher, but I couldn't get it to unzip at all. Apparently there's some mechanism inside a zipper, a catch that the pull tab releases. So, I'm trapped in my jacket.

Me: This is my life now, I guess. Always in this jacket. Sorry, I'm going to have to get married in this jacket.
Sarah: Or you could just pull it off over your head.
Me: Or that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sent out the invitations.

Standing in line at the post office, the woman in front of me held a package neatly bundled in string. As she walked up to the counter the postal worker at that station shook her head and said, "No strings attached. Like a good relationship."

Another postal worker was talking to a customer about an upcoming family wedding. "I don't know if I'm going. $2,000 is a lot to spend on someone's wedding. I like to spend my money on MYSELF. Maybe I'll buy them a video camera and they can send me a tape."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

This is what it says about Sarah on our official wedding website (our "wedsite"):

"Sarah grew up in the wilds of suburban Chicago.

"She works for Northwestern where she's also going to school (ooo, prestigious). She teaches improv at ComedySportz Chicago, as well as performing often several shows a week at ComedySportz and the iO Theater. So, yeah, she's real real busy. So busy, in fact, that Arnie agreed to write her bio for her because she just doesn't have the time.

"Sarah is funny, beautiful, super adorable, smart... what else? Also, she can fly and shoot lasers from her eyes."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Four months to the wedding day.