Remember when this blog was about (in)accessibility, travel and life on wheels?
It’s kinda morphed into a wedding-planning stress-fest, which still includes all of the above. Stick with me here.
In the midst of writing emails, being poked with dress-pins and sometimes sobbing over song choices, I have been doing some work.
I’m part of a website start-up which will focus on listing accessible travel accommodation for disabled people, with an opportunity to read/share reviews on such places, book from the site and contact property-owners and other people users of the site.
We’re trying to get an idea of the kinds of information to include on the site, and there has been a survey developed to let people to share their opinions.
And I thought of all you wonderful people.
If you are disabled, or if you travel with someone who is (say for instance, on a honeymoon. Or something.), please click on the link to let us know what you think:
I used to be really good at being alone. When I was single, I was perfectly happy to stay in by myself with only ice-cream, popcorn and my collection of Sandra Bullock movies for company. True story.
I would dance and sing around my living-room. One particular Saturday night, I did all of that while drinking Baileys from a pint glass. That was special. OK, maybe that night I wasn’t all that happy to be alone.
My point is this. I like my own company. I can read and write, and listen to Garth Brooks at full blast. And the remote control, after I figure out how to use it, is mine, all mine.
I had great plans for Sarge’s stag do. They involved Netflix and me. And then I was going to finish writing my novel. This was not a fake mission.
Dad invited me to Skye, friends invited me to the pub. I had options.
But I also had PMS, and it’s best not to inflict that level of genius on other people.
And so. Alone time. Because really, when is that going to happen again? I was looking forward to reconnecting with my dancingsingingBaileysswigging self. These were moments to be savoured and remembered fondly when I am married with penguins/children who, if they are anything like their parents, will constantly demand books, hot beverages, and impromptu renditions of Soft Kitty. In a round.
Before all that happens, Sarge got ready for Saturday’s camping trip, and I got ready for some quality time with the couch.
Sarge and his backpack left the building. I hoped I’d see his eyebrows again. Because they are wonderful. And they say so much about a person.
My shopping list for the weekend went like this: Ben & Jerry’s (yes, again. Don’t judge.) Doritos. Cheese. Macroni and cheese. Cheese. My PA laughed. I did not.
Anyway. She might have dropped off my supplies and then backed away slowly.
I was alone. I looked in the fridge. I straightened out the magnets on the fridge. I opened the bag of Doritos. I looked inside. I shrugged. Yes, really. I left all the Doritos in the bag.
I tried whistling. I failed.
I missed my cat. And Sarge.
I called my Dad. And left what I hope sounded like a non-depressed message. But not too upbeat, either. Because that would be trying too hard.
I texted my soon-to-be sister-in-law. And my soon-to-be mother-in-law. Because they really needed to know I was eating ‘all the cheese.’ So did Facebook. My Wall asked me what I was us up to. Or something.
I stared at a half-full computer screen. I was still doing OK at this point. So it was half-full, not half empty.
I turned on my wedding song playlist. Not exactly single person anthems. But I didn’t even listen to them when I was single, so I wasn’t missing much.
Now. Most of my playlist would make even the Gahds of Sap blush. Saying that, when Bruce sang I’m On Fire, I truly hoped Sarge was not.
I muted the music. Looked at some old photos. Realised again that my stress levels around the guest-list stem from the fact that my Grandparents won’t be there. Except in my dreams.
I gave thanks for everyone who will be there, in person and in spirit, stopped worrying about any of the lists. And practised my hyphenated signature. Yes, really.
I finished reading a book I started when I was 11. I watched all the TV that Sarge doesn’t know I watch. I had the Doritos. But I left the Ben & Jerry’s. Times have changed.
When I went to bed at 1.30 am, there may have been a stuffed toy penguin left for me on Sarge’s pillow. I woke up the next morning and I may have been holding it. I turned over in bed, wondering what happened to my life. But I was happy with it.
Some friends came over to help me across the cobbled streets that lead to our book-group, everyone hoping I wouldn’t break any teeth three weeks before my wedding.
We got to the book-group, where I thought every third word was ‘penguin’. True story.
A few hours later, Sarge, his backpack and his eyebrows came home. With Chinese food. And some ticks.
I was reading a book, minding my own business. Which was lucky. Just a few minutes earlier and he would have caught me singing a Carly Simon song, slightly off-key and into my hair-brush.
Confession time. When I started this blog, I was angry. Angry about uneven pavements that may or may not have dog-shit on them. Angry about inaccessible buildings and accessible toilets being used as storage cupboards. Because, if you keep a damn fridge in there, it becomes inaccessible. Angry about being called a ‘wheelchair’ on the bus, and always having to say: There’s a person in it, too.
I wanted to write about all of that, and my boyfriend and my cat.
I wanted to write about the frustrations and the fun times and connect with people who could relate on any level. I also apparently wanted to post photos of coffee.
I wanted to write stuff and always know where it was. I also have pages in filing cabinets, and purple notebooks and green notebooks and teal notebooks. I have five different novels on three different computers. I have lines on receipts and envelopes. The blog is less dusty. But maybe no less coffee-stained.
I still wanted to connect with people, and now we have more levels to choose from (!)
I’m not the pissed off person who started this blog. Sure, I’d like uneven pavements evened out, I don’t want to have to drag out a mop and bucket to pee. Although, that might be useful if there’s no accessible toilet at all.
I’m still referred to as a ‘wheelchair’ on the bus, but the person using it has places to go. Sometimes, to work. Lately, to wedding dress fittings. Could be worse.
Which brings me to something new I’ve been thinking about for the blog. Guest posts. There will be a blogging hiatus happening while I get married and honeymooned. This I promised myself. And Sarge.
When I get back, and possibly while I’m away, I’ll be looking for guest posts from:
Disabled people who see the funny side of living with a disability.
Parents raising their disabled children to be adults who see the funny side of living with a disability.
Disabled parents (allow me to project a little.)
PS. Blogging hiatus will be from June 8th to July 1. I’ll come back married with more stories, including travel journals of Bruges and Barcelona. And a wedding post. Or two. Of course.
People say that marriage is a marathon and not a sprint. I believe that. I’ve also started to think of wedding-panning as a test of endurance. To get you ready for the marathon. Last week, I failed that test.
But I got a lot of reading done. In bed. While drinking coffee and pretending I was 12. The 12 year-old me was home sick from school with a cold, but without a wedding to plan.
She didn’t care about cake-toppers or declines. Because really, those declines are like ripping band-aids off, and who wants to do that?
Unless you’re 32. And planning a wedding. And it’s courtesy for other people to tell you they can’t make it. You get to the point where you don’t want to look at the postcards that come through the door. Your heart leaps with a yes, and the same heart is ripped out with a no.
And then you eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
These are just some of the questions I asked Sarge last week: Did we tell the cake people I hate marzipan? Did we thank them for the gift? Wanna elope? Do we have any beer?
That’s where we are. But at least I’m sharing my Ben & Jerry’s. My Maid of Honour got some on Tuesday when she came over and asked if there was anything left to do.
‘Get married,’ I said.
And so, to use another metaphor, as we enter the final stretch I’m visualising the look on Sarge’s face when I get down the aisle. Because at that moment there won’t be any guests, or cake. There will be butterflies. And some penguins. That’s what matters. That’s what I’m looking forward to, the official stuff. The real stuff.
That, and the honeymoon. Because, y’know, ‘book honeymoon’ has been checked off the to-do list.
That’s a big one. Any couple that still wants to get married after planning a wedding deserves a honeymoon.
Picture it: Levittown, 1980-every-summer. A young girl is watching the sun sink lower in the sky and waiting for someone to take her to the carnival down the block. Her grandparents and her father have probably drawn straws. Who gets to hold her hair back this time? Because she’s gonna barf. But she’s too excited to eat. So it’s the dry heaves. And full on gagging, how attractive. And she’s barking. That’s a nervous cough. But she could be doing a duet with the dog. Because she loves him like a brother.
Point is, she’s so excited, she’s gagging. How attractive. She leaves the house clutching a paper bag, breathing into it on the way. Except she’s not co-ordinated enough for counting and breathing, it makes her dizzy. She gags. Again.
That little girl was me.
Fast forward to a few nights ago. I’m sitting at the computer, kinda obsessively checking my email. Impatiently waiting for a response from our videographer. Yes, we have one of those. Because I’m American. Apparently. Who knew? You can tell because the one thing I’ve insisted on is a wedding video. Everyone has said ‘that’s because you’re American.’ It’s just that I want to remember everyone’s faces. Especially my husband’s. I want to share the looks and the thoughts and the moments with people I love who won’t be there. That list is getting too long.
But anyway. There will be a video.
There’s a menu now, too. My mother and I even, shall we say, had words over the food. Which turned into a cultural debate. Which reminded me again that I was a third-culture kid, who is now an adult planning a multi-culture wedding. If you want to see if we pull it off, there will be a video. Of course.
And there will be flowers. Because I wrote some more emails. The first one went like this: My husband-to-be is severely allergic to all the flowers that have ever grown, and I only like a few of them anyway. I would really like The Dude to enjoy our wedding, and not sneeze/wheeze through it. Tearing up is fine, even encouraged. But we must avoid the very loud Sneezes of Doom.’
And so, most of our flowers are paper. I can’t link to them because that could be filed under Cart Before Horse. But they are awesome.
The list so far is video, menu, flowers. And freaking table linens. I haven’t thought of table linens since my Nana had an actual linen closet. Because that’s how she rolled.
Anyway, there’s linens.
And a cake. On Saturday, Sarge and I went looking at paint samples to bring the cake people and say, match these. Yes, really. This was not a fake mission. And it looked like this:
There’s favours, too. But we don’t want to give them away until the wedding. Because that’s how it goes.
And I’ve spent a lot of time putting together a playlist. And crying. And that’s before Sarge vetoes half the songs. Except maybe this one.
I’m also camped out and waiting for the postman every morning. Doing my best Olivia Twist with ‘Please Sir, can I have some more (RSVPs). You can keep the Nos. Because there will be no depression in this house.’ Or something.
I’ve even had my second dress-fitting, followed swiftly by my Bridal Crew Weekend. Where I spent a lot of time telling my future sister-in-law, ‘I love your brother A LOT.’ I s’pose that’s a good start. And I wasn’t even drunk. OK, maybe that one time.
And that looked like this:
As I write this, there are 38 days, 20 hours and 16 minutes til Sarge and I get married. And I’m not sleeping well. I’m in bed thinking about the video, the flowers, the cake, the favours. Last week Sarge asked me why I couldn’t sleep.
‘My inner-child needs a paper bag to breathe into.’ I’m nervous. And excited. And a little bit more of both.
But the list of things making me hyperventilate at three in the morning have nothing to do with being married. I have the best future-husband on all the planets. The vows and the rings and the life thing, bring that on. I’m good with that.
As for the wedding, I must remember to breathe, and enjoy it. And if I cough/bark/gag, it just means I’m really happy.