romance

First Contact

Today is the anniversary of the first communication between my wife and myself. How did we celebrate? By playing online games on our two Xbox 360 consoles; one in the family room, and one in the bedroom, shouting taunts at one another.

Some may think it's a little sad that we did this, but think about it this way: what is the likelihood that each of us would have found another person who would have thought this was a great way to spend an evening?

By the way, this is the first time we've played games like this. And my wife probably won't immediately recognize the Star Trek allusion in this post's title. She's not that geeky, which is a very good thing.

The Wedding and Honeymoon

As indicated in previous posts, I got married on April 5. Although it was obviously one of the most important events in my life, I haven't written much about it, due to lack of free time. So, here's all the stuff I should have written during the past few weeks.

The Wedding

Pebble and I both wanted a simple wedding. Our first idea was to only invite immediate family. But then we figured we should also invite our neighbors. And if we were inviting the neighbors, we should also invite close friends. And if we were having that many guests, maybe we should have a band. So, we ended up with about 50 people attending the wedding.

The wedding and reception were at The Oar House, a nice little restaurant that happens to be about a mile from our house. The restaurant's property borders the Chestatee River, so we hoped to have the ceremony on the river bank, followed by dinner reception.

Pebble is an ardent do-it-yourselfer, so we spent a lot of time at craft stores getting all the stuff needed for decorations, place settings, centerpieces, party favors, and so on. We also spent a lot of time putting the stuff together, but we were able to draft family members to help with that.

Then, it rained on the wedding day.

We were, of course, disappointed. Due to the rain, we had to abandon the idea of the riverside ceremony, and instead hold it inside the reception tent. We also had trouble getting good pictures in our wedding garb.

But, in hindsight, the rain wasn't all bad. It kept everybody inside the tent, which gave intimacy to the event. I enjoyed spending the time with good friends, some of whom I haven't seen in years.

We hired the band Emerald Rose to perform. They hold a special place in our memories, as Pebble invited me to see them on our second date. Also, one of the band members is our next-door neighbor, and another band member is the husband of the woman who officiated, so we have a lot of connections.

As we left, Pebble and I both commented on how beautiful the whole thing was. I give her full credit for how wonderful everything looked, but we were also happy that our friends and family seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. The staff at the Oar House did a great job.

The Honeymoon

After the reception, we drove to a hotel near the airport. The next morning, we flew to Honolulu. It was a nine-hour flight. We had both forgotten our Bose noise-cancelling headphones, so we picked up two pairs of Sony noise-cancelling headphones at the airport before the flight. The headphones served us well, but we now have no idea where they are.

I was surprised at how big Honolulu was; I had always thought of it as a small resort town, but driving through it felt like driving through Los Angeles. We stayed at the Outrigger Waikiki, a hotel on Waikiki Beach. We didn't get all checked-in and unpacked until around 5 PM Honolulu time, which is 11 PM Atlanta time, so all we did that first day was go out to dinner at Cheeseburger in Paradise (which had great coconut shrimp) and head back to the hotel.

Kris Screws Up, Big-time

The second day (Monday), we decided to spend the morning at the beach. Pebble bought me a bodyboard and thought it would be fun to watch me drown myself while she sat on the beach. As I walked down to the water, Pebble said "Don't lose your wedding ring," and I said "It won't come off; it's too tight." I went out and played in the surf for a while, but didn't like the experience. There were a lot of rocks on the bottom, and I smashed a couple of my toes pretty good (they were purple for the rest of the trip). After getting a little sun, we headed back to the hotel.

As I laid down to take a nap, I reached for my wedding ring, and discovered it wasn't there! We looked around the hotel room, but I knew I hadn't intentionally taken it off. It was out in the ocean.

After apologizing to my wife profusely for several minutes, I got on the phone and called the jeweler to ask whether they could ship us a replacement ring. Unfortunately, their computers were down, so they couldn't look up the records that day.

Over the next few days, we did get an identical ring ordered and shipped to us in Hawaii. I hope our sacrifice to the Polynesian gods will bring good fortune.

Rain

After Monday, it rained every day. So we didn't spend much time at the beach or doing other touristy things. But we enjoyed ourselves anyway. We were newlyweds.

We spent a couple of days driving along the north shore of Oahu. It is a beautiful area, and not as densely populated as the Honolulu area. We saw whales, sea turtles, and a sea lion.

We spent some time with the Bedient family, friends of Pebble's who live in Honolulu. The two girls, aged 19 and 21, decided they wanted tatoos, so Pebble and I accompanied them to the tattoo parlor. They lobbied hard for me to get a tattoo as well - one suggestion was having "I lost my wedding ring" tattooed on my forehead - but I left still unmarked.

The Return

We really didn't want to come home. Really, really, really did not want to come home. It was a difficult adjustment to go from living like royalty to being normal people again.

We've discovered that the Sears wedding gift registry website sucks. First, some people had trouble placing orders through the site. Now, we've discovered that there is no way to find out who bought the gifts we've received. So, if you sent us a gift through Sears, but haven't received a thank-you note, we're sorry.

Pebble and Kris Got Married

Our Wedding

April 5, 2008

It was beautiful, thanks to my lovely wife. Thank you to everyone who helped make this a special day.

Buying an Engagement Ring

I'm getting married. You may congratulate me.

I asked The Question, and she said yes. I know you're supposed to buy an engagement ring first, and present it as part of the proposal, but I wasn't really prepared when the conversation happened. So, the following day, we went out to shop for rings.

After hitting a half-dozen jewelry stores, we selected a beautiful ring. Of course, I'm a guy, so all jewelry is just shiny metal and sparkly rocks to me, but I was surprised when the one she liked is the one that I probably would have bought if she wasn't along for the trip.

This was on Sunday. I put down a 20% deposit on the ring, planning to move more money into my checking account on Monday so I could pay the balance on Tuesday.

Paying the deposit took a while. The nice salesperson at the store spent several minutes trying to figure out the menus and commands in the computer system. Then, when she tried to validate my check by TeleCheck, she had to call them and stay on the line for about twenty minutes before they cleared it. She said they said that the holdup was due to my address recently changing. I received a receipt, and I told them I'd be back on Tuesday.

I made my checking-account deposit on Monday morning, and went back to the store around noon on Tuesday. The nice salesperson from Sunday wasn't working on Tuesday, so nice salesperson #2 took my receipt, and spent several minutes trying to figure out (a) what I was buying and (b) how much I owed. She eventually figured it out, and I wrote another check. She ran my check through TeleCheck, and the answer came back: Declined.

Nice salesperson #2 asked if I had recently made a deposit. I told her I had, but that the bank told me the funds would be available immediately. She suggested I visit the bank to clear things up. I asked repeatedly whether I could bring back a cashier's check or money order, but she wouldn't answer that question, instead repeatedly insisting that, because she had worked at a bank in the past, she knew that there must be some kind of hold on my account.

So I went to the bank. Nice bankerperson told me that all my funds are available, and there is no reason that my check should be declined.

So I went back to the jewelry store. Nice salesperson #2 is heading out to lunch, so I had to explain the history of this transaction to nice salesperson #3, who then spent several minutes studying my receipt and looking up computer records to figure out (a) what I was buying and (b) how much I owed. She ran my check through TeleCheck, and the answer came back: Declined.

As she was walking out the door, nice salesperson #2 suggested that #3 call TeleCheck, which she does. She's on the line for twenty minutes, but the only answer she gets is that I've been declined.

I asked whether I could just go to the bank and bring back a cashier's check, money order, or a briefcase full of cash. She asked whether I have a debit card with me.

Yes, I did have a debit card with me, but I was under the impression that it had a limit of $400 or something like that. She swiped it through her card reader, and boom, thousands of dollars were exchanged for a sparkly rock. Wow, technology is cool. So now I own the ring, but have to wait a few days for it to be resized.

It was easier to buy my last car than to buy this ring.

Lessons learned:

  • TeleCheck can bite me. I haven't used checks for retail items in a long time, but I thought a check would make sense for this large purchase. TeleCheck's validation system wasted a couple hours of my time. From now on, I'll just use credit cards for everything.
  • Jewelry store salespeople could use more training on their computer systems. All three of the salespeople I observed seemed to randomly try every menu item until they got results that seemed reasonable.
  • I'm never getting married ever again.

[UPDATE: My fiancee read this entry, made a face, and remarked, "There's no love in there at all, is there?"]

Pictures of Women

One thing that makes me laugh about eHarmony.com and Match.com is the terrible pictures that women post of themselves. Most of the pictures are of women at company Christmas parties, wedding receptions, or at other kinds of celebrations, which means that the pictures usually have the following features:

  • alcoholic beverage in hand
  • drunken expression on the face
  • bright flash
  • red-eye
  • uncomfortable clothing
  • cropped-out boyfriend/ex-husband

Another popular type of picture is the vacation photo. The kind where there is some great, big, important, old building filling the frame, but if you look really closely, you can just barely make out a tiny woman standing in front of it, wearing sunglasses.

C'mon ladies, this is simple marketing. If you really want the Right Guys to notice you, get a couple of good pictures of yourself. I don't mean Glamour-Shots-style pictures; you should just have some pictures that show your face in flattering light with a pleasant smile, without any distracting features. The smart women also have a full-length picture or two, because, well, men like to see that.

Don't worry if you don't look like a supermodel. Nice guys aren't looking for that; they just want to know a woman isn't hideous before starting a conversation.

I volunteer to take pictures of any beautiful women who need me to do so. I won't charge you anything, but you will have to have coffee with me. It's part of my creative process.

By the way, I haven't seen any of the men's pictures on the dating sites, so I don't know their common foibles. Maybe my female readers can let me know what men usually do wrong, so I can check my own pictures.

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