How we got married the first time.

When Kristin and I had been living together for 2 months (so I guess that would be May), I went to Southern Utah for a week to participate in an Archaeological dig. It was the first time we had spent more than a weekend apart since the beginning of January, and I was missing her something fierce by the time she joined me for the weekend. As we were lying in our tent cooling off from a demonstration of how much I had missed her, I asked her if she would ever consider having a committment ceremony. "Are you proposing to me?" she asked. "Well," I stammered, "I'm not meaning like tomorrow, or anything, but you know, someday, maybe, if we don't break up or something, I thought it might be, you know, nice, whatever, to have, like, a ceremony, or something." (I am such a sweet talker, for a poet you'd think I'd be smoother) There was an awkward silence. "Eh, ok. If we don't break up, why not?" She answered.

Fast forward one year and a few weeks. I had just spent a week at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Atlanta. While I was gone Kristin reached the breaking point at her job with the SLC police dept. When I came home (again, from the longest seperation we have EVER had) she had decided to use up all her vacation and sick leave prior to quitting. We were both so giddy from the release her decision afforded us, and I had just found out that the very large grant to the National Endowment for the Humanities had just been funded. It was good times. The one day Kristin said: "While I've got all this time and before your new grant starts we should drive to Oregon and have our committment ceremony." "Why not?" I replied. So we asked a friend to go with us to take pictures, we bought two cheap white gold wedding bands and an outfit each for the ceremony, called up our friend who lived in Ashland and asked her if she would officiate the ceremony (she was a wiccan priestess) and took off two days later without telling anyone what we were doing.

We drove all night, down the Highway of Suicidal Bunnies, through some spectacularly beautiful territory that we couldn't see for all the darkness, and ran out of gas twice. The first time was in Nevada, and we drifted into a gas station on fumes. The second time was in Lakeview, Oregon, and because one can't pump one's own gas in Oregon, we had to wait 3 hours for the only gas station in town to open for the day before continuing our journey.

After we met up with our friend, we drove to the coast, and on July 5th, 2002 had a commitment ceremony on a cliff overlooking the sea at sunset. It was a beautiful ceremony, but was not without its hitches. The biggest of which was that a year and a half later the friend who officiated moved back to Utah and fell off the wagon (she had 10 years of sobriety behind her when she started drinking again). Once she started drinking again she decided that what she wanted most in the world was for me to break up with Kristin and move her into our house. That was the final straw in what had become a very strained relationship and Kristin and I broke off our friendship with the woman. So, now all our memories of our commitment ceremony are tainted and we can't look at any of the pictures that include her without feeling disquieted. Oh well.

When we came back home and told our friends and family what we had done there was an outcry of indignation. They all felt cheated that they weren't able to participate or witness our union. So, to appease them we decided to have a reception. But first we went on a honeymoon.

We had wanted to take a road-trip from Atlanta to Kristin's sister's cabin in North Carolina. So, we packed for a domestic road-trip. However, we were flying standby, so we ended up in Nicaragua (it was the only flight that we were guaranteed to get on, and after days in airports, we didn't care where we were going as long as it would get us out of airports). We had our passports and a hastily-purchased guidebook.

The first night in Managua was very frightening. We had picked out a hostel in Managua to spend the first night, but when we grabbed a cab at the airport and asked him to take us there, he took us to someplace else instead. I was FREAKED OUT! I don't speak Spanish, Kristin barely speaks Spanish, we were in a country that the only thing I knew about were Contras (and I don't even really know about contras) and now we were in a bad area in a huge city and no one on the entire planet knew where we were. The walls of the hostel were made of corrugated tin and didn't go all the way to the ceiling. The place was filthy with puddles of water in the corners. The door seemed to be made of balsa wood. I curled up in the middle of the pallet in a full panic attack and shook all night. Kristin had stayed in worse places before, so she wasn't freaked out.

In the morning things looked better. The man who owned the hostel turned out to be extremely nice and caring, and helped us negotiate rates for a cab to take us to Granada. And once we got to Granada the magic occured. Granada is a beautiful place. It is located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua and it is truly enchanted. Kristin and I had planned to stay only one day before heading to the big island on the lake, but we loved it so much we spent our entire vacation there, exploring the city and the countryside. We stayed in the very colorful Hospedaje Central, a hostel that was owned by an ex-pat American that catered mainly to backpacking students. We went on a zip-line canopy tour. We let a man known only as El Cubano, who hung out in the dining room every day, take us on a tour of the lake's isletas where we fed oreos to monkeys (don't look at me like that, they were tamed monkeys that were living on a very small island owned by a veterinarian who had rescued them from abusive owners and knew that they couldn't be released into the wild. The vet went to the island every week to leave food for them there. At least, that's El Cubano said, and who are we to say otherwise, one of the monkeys was missing a hand...) Anyway, that was the best vacation I have ever had, despite the frightening beginning.

When we came back, we started planning the reception. We reserved a beautiful picnic site in nearby Milcreek Canyon, we stalked and then coerced Megan Peters into giving us a private concert (where she played all our favorite songs!), we made our own invitations. My parents wanted to help us (since I am their oldest daughter and they had just mostly paid for my brother's wedding) but Kristin and I are not fancy people, and we really didn't want to put anyone out. Eventually we told them they could get the wedding cake, as long as it was small, and they could provide Costco cakes (mmmmm, Costco cakes...) for the guests. In lieu of presents we asked people to bring food for the picnic. We brought flowers from the farmer's market. In total we spent about $700 (not including the $200 paid to Megan and Monique because Kristin's sister paid for that) for the entire reception. It was a great time, everyone had so much fun, the music was wonderful, and my dad gave a toast that had everyone crying. Oscar had a great time, too. I have several pictures of him playing with kids and stealing ice out of the ice chests, but I didn't have time to scan them in. Maybe later. (I don't know why the picture above looks so weird, click on it and it should look a little better.)

And then we went home and collapsed. Whew, we thought, good thing one only gets married once.

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