I don't always drink beer. But when I do, I do it with Michael Bittner.
So, it comes down to this. In my final adventure to completely make the best night in a couple's lives all about me, I culminate my four-part series on weddings with it's final narrative, concluding that maybe all weddings are not that bad. As explained to the three previously-wedded couples, I have successfully unfairly compared their festivities and ceremony and minimized them to a mere shindig or hoe-down status. I was invited even though the super-nuptials I partook in nearly four years ago was the best. And if they didn't like my critique, I was going to take my ball, and a slice of cake, and go home. In an exhausting seven-month run, I have tasted eight cakes, witnessed four awkward kisses ordered by officiants and blew off the World Series Game 3 (which was a pretty good game to blow off) to chronicle this institution. As I am finally done with all of this celebratory celebration, my hypothesis has been altered due to all of the experimental variables that have screwed up my control group. We jump all of these crazy hurdles for love. Not only for the love of a man or woman, but a love of family and extended family and extended family that will help life out any and every step of the way. Thanks Michael and Sarah for screwing up my original thesis that everyone's wedding other than mine is a massive time killer. Great. Just great.
If you can't tell, I am yelling at the happy couple while The Lovely smiles proudly
(Thanks to Michael & Fairy Tale Photography for the leak).
(Thanks to Michael & Fairy Tale Photography for the leak).
I think for the rest of the year, I am just going to fly by the seat of my pants as far as planning for what I am going to do day by day and hour by hour. Sure, I will go to work and eat breakfast and all those necessities, but in regards to the last two weddings I was invited to, the level of planning, forethought and time-brokering for mundane activities was a bit much for me. I thought Jeff's wedding was overdoing it...Michael scheduled the day of hour by hour. Who schedules their mid-afternoon cocktail? And whatever wasn't scheduled over email or Google Calendar, I felt like it was an episode of "24". Because, "we don't have time" or "we're running out of time".
As the expanding scope of the wedding continued to capture volunteers to perform side jobs before the event, I became technical support for the visual presentation at the reception hosted at the parents for the bride. Yeah, I'm complaining because I was mildly hung over from the rehearsal dinner, but it really wasn't that big of a deal. Just bring your laptop, plug it in to the big TV in the living room and run a slide show. Not bad. But as we all know with technology, the devil is in the details.
I apparently own the saddest Dell laptop ever because it only has three USB 2.0 ports and only a VGA out. I skipped past the HPs and Lenvonos that actually have supportable video capabilities. Damn my cheapness. Fortunately, there was a SD card reader on the set. Easy peasy: just move the JPEG files from the jump drive to the SD, prep the set for "infinite loop" and the video slide show of super-embarrassing pictures of the couple before they met is complete for the presentation. One problem: the universal remote does not play nice with the embedded Panasonic functions. With only about 30 minutes to spare and the father of the bride shrugging at me, I did the only thing I could think of to remedy this issue...I asked the mother of the bride for help.
Turns out wives hide things from husbands. But I didn't think it would be the TV set remote. Jill (mom of bride) procured the only device that could solve my issue in under 10 seconds. John (pop of bride) was not only impressed with the audible I called, but happy that his partner for life had his back. Crisis averted. The bride gets what she wants without a clumsy laptop teetering problematically on top of a Blu-ray player. And the small victory makes the occasion that much more special.
The Lovely and I in full wedding mode. Thanks again to Michael for the bow tie execution.
I guess this was where I turned the corner on the whole wedding thing. Maybe I should have been more involved in the three previous weddings (building an arbor that looked suspiciously like a chuppah notwithstanding). Maybe putting my heart before my head would have been the way to go with the other celebrations. Not that I didn't love all of the other participants--I do. But there was something about this wedding that holds a very special place in my heart.
It was a rough time for Michael and I a handful of years back. I was getting my ass whipped trying to pay back some of my debts in Corpus while Michael was getting his ass whipped in law school. I made my semi-annual visit to Austin (when Austin actually felt like home instead of an extension of Northpark Mall). We shot a couple games of billiards at the old home of Gingerman. We were both in the dumps, but Michael was in a far darker corner of the dumpster than I was. I expressly remember him giving up on love. He was going to be content, once with his law degree, bar exam clearance and firm job, that he was just going to have some "trophies" laying around. Sure, he would like them and all, but he knew that where he was headed, not only did he not have time for love, he wasn't in the mood to try to discover it. It was one of those statements that you rock back on your heels and say, "whoa". Not only on the fact that Michael scratched on the eight ball again, but just the shear resigning of effort. He might as well mail it in. And no matter how much shit I was in, this made me feel even sadder, especially for someone that I have known since 1999.
Fast-forward 12 years later, the tendered letter of resignation was revoked. And it made me happy. It has been a long, strange trip for Michael, likewise for Sarah (though I don't know all of her narratives in between). But when you have known someone and have grown up with someone and you see all the sections of growth and maturity, it gets to you on a different emotional plane. And it made perfect sense that this was the most anticipated event of the season. And you want to be a part of it. Hell, you need to be a part of it because it parallels life (at least mine) so much that it almost makes the universe balanced.
The one thing about an actual bow-tie is the hammered look is quite respectable.
Before everyone gets ahead of themselves, this wedding did not--I repeat--NOT top the wedding where The Lovely said, "I do". But Sarah and Michael made one hell of a run at it to overtake the ranking. And I wouldn't have missed it for 20 Texas Ranger World Series.
To the happy couple, I had no idea East McKinney resembled Stockdale, TX. That was an added bonus. I am pretty sure I can speak for The Lovely when I say that we were absolutely honored by the invite, participation and exclusivity you gave both of us during this very special affair. I apologize for secretly being a punk. I hope none of my negativity reached you (I really, really hope it didn't) but this will be my last wedding in attendance for at least four years. No disrespect, but my wedding was better. But only better in the sense that I met the perfect woman and you two are perfect for each other. I don't think I could last one week married to Michael--not that there is anything wrong with that. Sarah, welcome to the Bittner-Bolton-Gonzalez-Chapman-Garner branch of the family. Anytime you both need any thing, just ring The Lovely or me. I would say good luck to both of you but I don't think you need it since you have already dodged a severe thunderstorm by stagecoach. I love you both.
Wedding Blog disclaimer -- I am done. Done, I tell you. You wanna start something, meet me outside.
Lessons Learned, my three things.
1) Go Rangers! Nap Nap Wiener.
2) Hey #OccupyDallas, I support you, but come on. Walk three more blocks down and two blocks up and you get to fuck with the real suits, not the poor bastard personal banker that gets paid less than a teacher.
3) T-minus 39 days...and boy are my legs used to this.
Finally, I can start studying. Thank God. Oh, wait...I have another mitzvah is South Florida? Where are my flash cards? Talk later.