Mawwage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam…

As promised, part deux of the wedding/Vegas saga. I’m not quite as angry as I was yesterday about the two people faking cancer, but still disappointed in people in general. So to lighten my mood, it’s time to reminisce and continue the story of a very, very good weekend. But yes, I still want them to be hit by a bus and/or kicked in the crotch by karma. That will never change. I’m kinda bitchy that way. Surprise! 

So there we were – someplace I never pictured myself being – at a wedding chapel in Las Vegas. Lots of hugs, then as more people showed up, more hugs. I was amazed that when all was said and done, we had probably 40 or 50 people show up. And it was fabulous. It was both beautiful and casual. We kept with tradition and had my dad walk me down the aisle and give me away, but it was relaxed and stress-free. All we cared about was that a lot of people who loved us had showed up, and that we were making things official. The ceremony was perfect – just enough traditional talk of love and vows to get people teary-eyed, and just Vegasy enough to have some laughs as well. I wasn’t concerned with pretty pictures or getting my vows right or how my hair looked – all I was concerned with for that time was how damn happy we were.

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Once we said the words and did the smooching, we headed outside into the entirely too bright sunshine. More picture taking, more hugs. After the milling about and mass confusion that only occurs when large families gather was done, we had our plan for the rest of the day. We kidnapped my parents and Kris and went back to Fremont Street. Rudy and I zipped up to the room to change (that’s all, honest!) and met back downstairs. Next up? Ziplining! Yay! So we meandered down to the end of the street to buy our tickets and then head upstairs a few levels to the launch platform. My loving husband was starting to get a little uneasy though. And when I say a little uneasy, I mean sweaty palms and telling me how much I was going to owe him if he lived. This was all before we had even bought the tickets.

Tickets were finally purchased, and we headed up the elevator a few stories to get to the launch platform. I knew it was over when he stepped out onto the scaffolding, got his harness on and then looked down as the scaffolding swayed in the wind a bit. Yup. Done. He apologized profusely and bolted. *sigh* And I, being the loving, concerned wife, did what any good woman would do and continued on my way across the scaffolding to get hooked on to the line. I’ll admit, it was a little scary up there, but in a good get-the-adrenaline-pumping way. And on the bright side, I met a great couple (you go 4 at a time) who were going at the same time. They were a hoot – he was dying to do the zipline, and she was terrified. But she still went. And yes, I pointed that out to Rudy repeatedly for a few days. Because that’s how I roll. Needless to say, it was a blast. I’ve ziplined in the jungle in Honduras, but this was totally different. There was so much to look at as you were flying down the wire – people below you, the canopy above you, the buildings flying by – that it seemed very surreal. And now I can’t wait until they build the bigger, better zipline down Fremont later this year. I’ll be there. Ziplining solo.

After my brief flight, I found my parents, Kris, and my earthbound husband. More mockery ensued, then we proceeded to meander around Fremont Street for a while and then head back to the hotel for some lunch. Or the lunch may have been before the ziplining…it’s a blur I tell you! But as usual, all good things must end and we had to get my parents back to their hotel to pack and check out. Unfortunately, they had to be at the airport by about 10:00pm for a late flight home, and we still had a party to get to.

Luckily, Rudy’s aunt who was hosting the reception/party lived not too terribly far from the airport, so we headed there in the afternoon for what was a rockin’ reception. I am still touched by everything that his family did for us. There was food everywhere, bottles of champagne, new champagne glasses for Rudy and I to toast with, cupcakes, a wedding cake and last but not least, the most welcoming group of folks I’ve ever met. I thought my parents might be a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume of Rudy’s family, but they were welcomed and pulled in to the fold as if they’d part of the family for years. I loved seeing some of my favorite cousins chatting up my folks, and my folks chatting right back and having a ball. Toasts were made, more hugs were given, and it was a perfect night. I love that 6 months later, my parents still ask about the Vegas clan every time we talk.

After a really lovely day, the time had come to get my parents to the airport. Boooooooooo! I’m sure they were looking forward to getting on the plane and sleeping on the long flight home, especially considering that they’d pretty much been running for 2 days straight. But they didn’t let it show as we got to security and they gave me hugs that seemed to be both unending and entirely too short. There were more tears and more hugs, then I had to let them go. I am still, to this day, astounded that they went through all of that effort, time and money to spend less than 24 hours in Vegas for us. But I really shouldn’t be surprised – that is who they are. An amazingly supportive, incredible and loving couple. I couldn’t ask for better parents.

Party over, parents heading home, 10:30 on a Saturday night in Vegas. What to do, what to do. Oh, I know! Head back to the hotel and meet up with friends for a few adult beverages and people watching! As we sat in the indoor/outdoor bar at the Golden Nugget, we realized what all the noise from Fremont Street was – Skid Row and Warrant in concert to celebrate our marriage. Orrrrr just to try to make some money with the vague remnants of their 80’s bands that were still alive. Either way, it made for some fabulous people watching as we sat and chatted (ok, screamed back and forth) with our friends. It made for a great end to a truly great weekend.

We may have gambled a bit more after that, we may have gone back upstairs. I have no idea, and really – the details and order of events don’t matter. All I know is that the ‘one last party’ weekend had turned into something amazing and beautiful and joyous. It’s what every wedding weekend should be – low stress, full of love and laughter, and simply happy. That’s all. And when it comes down to it, we accomplished the actual goal of the weekend – I got 3 days where I completely forgot I had cancer. And it was perfect.

I think that what infuriates me so much about people who pretend to have cancer for various reasons is that anyone who has ever been given a cancer diagnosis honestly just wishes they had never heard those words – that they could just forget for one day. It shakes you to your soul. Your own body is doing its best to kill you, your mind goes places that are truly frightening, and you feel more alone than you ever dreamed you could. It is an awful, awful thing – and for someone to pretend…it boggles the mind. If they only understood that a cancer diagnosis, no matter what stage, is horrifying and all-consuming. At least for a little while. It’s been 6 months for me, and I still have days where it’s all I think about. Every time I start to forget about it, I remember I need to make my next 3-month follow up appointment with my oncologist. Or I get random pains that make my mind race and wonder if it’s back. I know that someday it will fade and not be so front and center – probably in about 4 and a half years (but who’s counting) when I get my official ‘cancer-free’ from the doctor. *fingers crossed* But for now…all I can do is shake my head and wish that people who pretend to have cancer could walk in a real cancer patient’s shoes for one day.

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2012 in review

HOLY COW! 1500 views from 25 countries? Fine…I’ll keep writing. I’m a sucker for peer pressure.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

 

Mawwage. Mawwage is wot bwings us togeder tooday…

Well hello there. Remember me? I’m baaaaaaaack. It’s been a rough couple of days for me. As it turns out, a cervical cancer support group I’m a member of is currently tearing itself apart. Turns out 2 very popular ladies with stage 4 cervical cancer, who got a large amount of attention from the rest of us, were frauds. One was simply looking to defraud actual cancer patients out of money (and the FBI is now involved) and one has serious mental issues. I am angry and disgusted. Luckily, I wasn’t extremely close to either of them unlike a lot of the girls. But it still infuriates me that someone would pretend to have this horrible disease. And the fact that they befriended a 3rd girl with actual stage 4 cancer and broke her heart…I want a bus to plow them both down right now. Or for karma to give them a swift cancer-kick in the crotch. So since I’m on the verge of losing all hope in humanity, I’m going to get back to writing about happy things. For a change. 

Last I left off (yeah, yeah, I know…it’s been a while – quit nagging), I was reeling from my official cancer diagnosis. Rudy and I decided that since I was going to be laid up for heaven knows how long, that one last party trip was in order. There really wasn’t any debate about where since we only had one weekend available to go and only a few days to plan – Vegas was the perfect choice. We made a groveling phone call to our favorite casino host and asked if there were rooms available with our fingers crossed. Chances were slim since we only gave him 3 days notice, but he happily responded with a free room in our favorite tower for 3 nights, food and beverages comped, and a few hundred dollars to play with. Thank you Golden Nugget! So with that secured, we started trying to figure out what we wanted to do while we were there. Besides the obvious drink, gamble, eat, people watch and repeat. I decided on doing the Fremont Street zip-line, and talked my wonderful man (who is terrified of heights) into trying it. Victory! Then my wonderful man brought up what he wanted to do in Vegas. That’s right – mawwage. (Sorry, Princess Bride speak is the only way I can say it.) We’d batted the idea around for a while, but it was always later. Next year. Some other time. Suddenly we were facing the possibility that there wouldn’t be a next year. And it was sobering. It wasn’t just the idea that the cancer could be further along than we thought. There was also the very real possibility that something could go wrong in surgery, and Rudy would have zero say in life or death decisions for me. Then there was just the simple fact that we really, really love each other and it just seemed right.

So like a bad daughter, I called some Vegas chapels first to see if it was even a possibility. No sense in telling the family we were getting married if we simply couldn’t do it. Or at least that was the rationale at the time. Now I realize I’m just a big dork, and should have called them first. Luckily for us, after some googling, the exact chapel I wanted (and by wanted, I mean non-cheesy and pretty) was available for Saturday, July 21. But we only had 2 options – the first time slot of the day at noon, or 10:30pm. As much as I didn’t want to have to wake up early (and yes, being dressed up and driving somewhere before noon in Vegas IS early, dammit!), we were hoping some friends and family might be able to make it. So we went with noon. And THEN I called my parents and told them the good news. It felt really good to have something happy to tell them for a change. And they were perfectly, wonderfully excited for us. I told them that I picked a place that would let them watch the wedding on-line because I knew they (among others) would kick our butts if we didn’t. I told them I would call them before the wedding, and leave my phone on speaker if I was allowed so they could hear. I wanted them there so badly, but considering the wedding was now 4 days away, I knew there was absolutely no way they would be able to make it. And it meant the world to me that as much as they wanted to be there, they completely understood us going ahead with it without them.

So more friends and family were let in on our big plans, and the outpouring of love and support was lovely and touching. What came next was both unexpected and wonderful. First, a very good friend who lives in Vegas told us he would do his very best to take off work that day and come to the wedding. And he did. With the added bonus of his quietly charming husband coming with him. Second, Rudy has a very large and very incredible branch of his family who live in Vegas – and they were adamant about both coming to the wedding and putting together a reception. (Side note – they all told me in case of divorce, they’re keeping me. I’m awesome.) Third, Rudy’s best friend in the world who lives a ways from Vegas, dropped everything to drive the 500+ miles for the weekend. Fourth, my loving and very energetic future mother-in-law and her husband also dropped everything to drive up from LA for the weekend. As did Rudy’s lovely aunt and uncle. I was a little overwhelmed with the amount of folks who were willing to spend precious time and money to come up for our quickie ceremony. It was both touching and heartwarming. Little did I know the best surprise was yet to come.

Of course, focus next turned to what we would both wear. Neither of us had the time nor the desire to hunt down formal wedding attire. On our list of concerns, it was at the very bottom – we just aren’t those people. We both wanted something nice but casual, and comfortable. That was pretty much it. I pulled a little white summery dress out of my closet, and he found a pair of khaki dress slacks and a pale blue button down. Done. And damn if we didn’t look gooooood!

Fast forward a few days, and we were off to Vegas on an early Thursday morning. We dropped the pooch off at his favorite doggie day care in Vegas, and made it to the hotel. Everyone from out of town was arriving Friday or Saturday morning, so we had Thursday night to ourselves. We had some drinks, did some gambling, did some people watching, had a lovely dinner and generally just had a fantastic night. (Some details omitted to protect the innocent.)

The next day, we lazed about in bed and ordered room service and then napped some more. Late in the afternoon, Rudy told me I needed to get out of bed at some point. I knew he was right, but I still gave him a snarl. Then went back to sleep. Finally he couldn’t keep his secret to himself another second. He leaned over and told me we had to pick up my parents at the airport. I told him to stop being a jerk – he wasn’t funny. It took him a few minutes to convince me that he wasn’t joking. That my amazing, incredible, wonderful, sneaky parents had been plotting with him for days and were flying out for the wedding. From Ohio, on 3 days notice. I still don’t think I believed it until I saw them at the airport. After a few delays, they finally made it to Vegas (they spent more time traveling to and fro than they did in Vegas) and my heart was happy. Between the reality of them moving heaven and earth to be at our wedding and the simple fact that I hadn’t seen them since months before the cancer diagnosis, there were a lot of very long hugs and not a few tears at the airport that night.

As they were exhausted from a long day of travel, we dropped them off in their hotel room and let them get some rest. We zipped back to our hotel and met up with Rudy’s best friend, Kristen. I think. At this point, the weekend is a blur. Oops. But I’m fairly sure we had some drinks and gambled a bit with her before scooting off too bed entirely too late. All I know is that we had a lot of fun.

The next morning came entirely too quickly. We got ourselves all pretty and met up with Kris downstairs, then drove over to the chapel. My parents were waiting for us, having gotten there early enough to walk next door to the ‘Pawn Stars’ pawn shop and look around first. And no, they did not meet Chumley or any of the other dudes. By the time we got there, there was a line out the pawn shop door around the building, a DJ setting up in the parking lot, and a food tent getting set up. Apparently it’s quite the tourist destination now. Who knew? We had other things on our mind at the time, so we quickly got around to giving more hugs as more people showed up and started getting down to the business at hand.

And with that, I will leave you for tonight. But I’ll be back in a day or two to finish the tale of our wedding weekend. Honest. Typing this tale (oooooh kinda sorta alliteration!) has brightened my mood. I still want 2 particular people to be hit by a bus (ok, maybe two or three others as long as I’m wishing…), but at least I can still vaguely see a glimmer of hope for humanity again. And a glimmer is all I need for now.