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I mentioned this earlier, but J and I are getting married. How, pray tell, you might ask, you Godless lesbian creatures? Don’t you know that shit isn’t even LEGAL here?
Let me just take a moment to say, before anyone tells me to move my ass to Iowa if I want me a legal American wedding, that until gay marriage is legally protected at the FEDERAL level, it makes absolutely no nevermind to me at all that it’s legal in Iowa, or Vermont, or Connecticut (although bless those states for making such a symbolic gesture). And this is because if I get legally married in Iowa, but am a resident of Washington, then essentially all I did was throw a bunch of money at some Iowa county government, which ends up not affording me JACK SHIT in terms of marriage benefits the likes of Britney Spears has enjoyed. Twice, now. If I were in the mood to waste money, I could surely find better ways to do it than by flying into corn country, and I say that as someone with actual living relatives in Iowa.
Now that’s out of the way, where was I? Oh, yes- getting gay married. Given that the US has yet to make it illegal for lesbians to travel internationally (I know it’s a bit extreme, but there are also laws on the books that make miscarriage prosecutable as homicide, so don’t look at me like it’s that far fetched), J and I have decided to go to the great city of Vancouver, which is fortunately a scant three hour drive north of Seattle, and even more fortunately, a city in Canada, where gay marriage has been legal since 2005.
Given that we are considering dropping a fair amount of dollars on this wedding thing (which I keep misspelling as “weeding”), dropping it in a country that recognizes our status as fully actualized human beings was a no-brainer. Vancouver has been very accommodating of our wedding plans, with a bajillion websites devoted to finding our perfect venue, caterer, dress, accessories, and officiant.
Wait, officiant? In my vague thoughts about weddings, I kinda sorta… didn’t have anyone in mind conducting the ceremony. If I really thought about it very hard, I suppose I would have My Uncle The Judge do the ceremony, since he’s married two of my cousins already.
Let us simply gloss over the question of a religious ceremony with this simple statement: OH HELL NO.
Anyhoo, back to the officiant. In Canada, such an individual is called a marriage commissioner and is appointed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Vital Statistics Agency of the province in which you wish to get married. This commissioner serves a 5 year term, and can option to renew for an additional 5 years. This means there are visions of crusty bureaucrats dancing in my head, which is, needless to say, NOT QUITE WHAT I HAD ENVISIONED. Various gay websites have assured me that “gay friendly” commissioners exist and can be obtained, but… I don’t know… The one thing I actually HAD envisioned when daydreaming about my wedding is that I would know everyone there. I mean everyone- J and I have whittled that guest list so viciously that the one thing we CAN guarantee is that there will NOT be anyone’s embarrassing Uncle Morty wandering around wondering insistently where the groom is. Absolutely everyone will be someone I’ve interacted with before, including all invited members of J’s family (which is GIGANTIC, hello multiple rounds of eight children). And even beyond interacted with: someone I’ve talked to, laughed with, danced and partied and cried and jumped for joy with. It seems almost heartbreaking to invite a stranger into such a intimate circle, even if for only a short period of time.
I know, I know, there will be tons of people there I don’t actually know- the bartender, the servers, the gallery manager who will be on site the entire time. But here’s the thing- I am PAYING those people to act as if they aren’t there. If I don’t address a singe word to the waiters during my wedding, I can assure you I will neither remember this factoid, nor give a flying fuck about it once reminded. But the officiant? That person kinda gets center stage for a while, and I have to to pay her for the privilege.
Obviously, one answer is to spend a lot of time vetting said marriage commissioner, but I’m sure I’ve mentioned it at least once or twice, but we live in Seattle? And Canada, while tantalizingly close at times, like say, THE WEEKEND, is still considerably far when the idea is to make multiple visits between now and the end of August.
In the grand scheme of things, the stranger-hood of the officiant is the smallest of potatoes, but I suspect these are the reasons we have yet to make any inroads in the locating of said officiant, although we are headed into the dreaded “6 months before” period The Knot keeps reminding me of (does The Knot have some sort of deal with therapists? Because if I were susceptible to the sort of frenzy they’re continually trying to whip me up into, I’d be headed for some couch time, PRONTO).
In the end, I suspect it will matter little who actually marries us, and more who is there to witness it. And will I really care, in the end, who asks me to repeat these words to the person I love the most?:
Do you “N”, undertake to afford to “J” the love of your person,the
comfort of your companionship, and the
patience of your understanding; and to share
equally of the necessities of life as they may be
earned or enjoyed by you; to respect the dignity
of their person, their own inalienable personal
rights, and to recognize the right of counsel and
consultation upon all matters relating to the
present or the future of the household
established by this marriage?
It’s equal parts beautiful and business, and I can’t think of better words to seal our very own legal marriage.
No, not actually fucking them, just, OMG, those fucking doctors.
As a wee bit of back story, I have been experiencing, since November, some sort of bizarre extremity problem. Sometimes one finger, sometimes two, sometimes every single fucking one, goes cold. Drains of blood, turns an attractive shade of corpse white, and aches and itches. It makes it hard to tie my shoes and open stuck jars, and although touching other people with my freaky cold finger is a neat party trick, it’s mostly a giant pain in the ass.
So I did what all normal people do when faced with a bizarre medical issue: I went to California. I wish I could say I headed to a hippie commune to interact with a world famous acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist, but really I just went to see my… OH MY GOD, pause for GIANT ASIDE:
What, exactly, am I supposed to call my partner’s sister? For those of you catching up, my partner and I are both women, which makes us lesbians, and therefore unable to get legally married in a vast majority of the states in this great country of ours. So, while J and I have been together for three years, and share a home and a pride of domestic cats, when I go to her sister’s house, I don’t technically get to call her my sister in law, even though that is essentially what she is. Normally, I’d find this laughably ridiculous to be worried about, but SHIT, people. When the janitor at my office asks me what I did over my winter break, I have two choices: either tell him my entire sexual history, or say I went to my sister in law’s, and let him assume I’m married to a dude. Neither of these options are of any interest to me. Generally I go with the path of least resistance, and therefore she is my sister in law, but CHRIST, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, get with the gay marriage program, so I can just stop worrying about it already.
ANYHOO. My fingers, and my holiday trip to California to see the abovementioned sister in law. We went there for the Christmas holidays (HERE I am sparing you YET ANOTHER giant aside, but let it be known that I am Jewish), in the quaint town of Huntington Beach, which is an hour south of LA, and by that I mean that it was 70 degrees in December. I thought for sure this would force my recalcitrant arteries to blossom open, releasing sweet, warm blood into my fingertips (WHOA. Did I go all True Blood fanfic there, for a moment?). But no. Fingers still frozen, much to the delight of my niece and nephew (see above aside), who repeatedly asked me to touch them with my freaky fingers.
The point being, after our return to Seattle, I was now forced to do what any ACTUALLY reasonable person would have done, and go to the doctor. Now. Since I have access to Dr. Google, I essentially already knew what the problem was, and that the quick and easy fixes (quit smoking and exercise) were already in the bag. Which is why I spent all of the week before I made the appointment constructing elaborate scenarios in my head wherein the doctor would flat out refuse to believe that anything was wrong with me, and then I would have to splutter in rage and righteously demand another opinion. This belief was further compounded my the first doctor I visited, who told me it “never gets cold in Seattle” and then chastised me for using the word “numb” to describe my symptoms even though I could feel him pricking my fingertips with a needle. Let me just say this: referring yourself to a specialist is the number one way to piss one off. It would appear they’ve become so used to the insurance gatekeeping that someone having the nerve to just WALK RIGHT IN throws them all sorts of off their game.
Is it any wonder I spiked a super high blood pressure when I walked into my general practitioner’s office this afternoon? She was actually very nice and understanding, even though she didn’t offer me the miracle fix it all right away drug I was sort of, kind of, maybe, just maybe, hoping for. Instead she decided that my crappy posture ends up putting pressure on the arteries leading down my arms, which decreases bloodflow to my extremities. Which is all fine and good by me, because I walked out with a prescription for MASSAGE. Yes, you read that right: MASSAGE. Now that was a $15 copay well spent.
But here’s what really got me. It turns out, all this running has caused me to lose 10 pounds. I know this makes me sound like one of those celebrities on the covers of magazines who brag about losing all their baby weight in three days by walking around the house on tip toes for 20 minutes a day, or some other bullshit we all know is bullshit, but still bugs us because why can’t we do that too, but the simple truth is this: I really didn’t mean to, but I did lose 10 pounds. And I know I didn’t mean to, because, GET THIS, I’m actually pretty happy with my body as it is, about 50 lbs overweight, if you use the BMI as a metric (which I don’t, and a million people on the internet have handled that issue better than I ever could). It moves me, carries me through my day, and almost never prohibits me from doing any activity, physical or otherwise, I want to.
So, when I mentioned to the doctor that I’d lost 10 pounds, she ACTUALLY CHECKED MY CHART. And said “indeed, look at that, you DID lose 10 pounds.” What the everloving fuck is that about? Do people actually lie to their doctors about their weight? I mean, sure they do, my very own driver’s license says I weigh 160 pounds, which I did, sure in 1990, or whatever. But to the doctor? The doctor with the digital scale? I admit there is a (vanishingly small) chance I am misinterpreting what happened, but I was shocked.
And that, people? That made me sad. This is the person we trust with our health, the thing that at least we have that, the thing that is a direct measure of our TIME ON EARTH, and we’ve imbued them with such power and authority that we actually LIE to them about really, really insignificant things. What other things are we afraid to tell our doctors? What else do we hide? These are the reasons *I* think we need health care reform.
When J and I got together, we each had two cats. Mine were indoor only pussies (in both senses of the word), and she had a giant fat cat suffering from kidney disease who died shortly after I moved in, and Kokanee, a skinny gray tabby who roams the neighborhood and regularly comes home with bloody scratch marks (usually in his ears. WTF, cat?).
For about the first year I lived there, nothing untoward happened, and I rested calmly in my belief that cats bringing home “presents” was a sort of urban (or not so urban, I suppose) legend you hear about from people you don’t actually trust. Until the day I came home to find some small feathers on the front mat. Interesting, I thought- there are feathers in my entryway. I walked down the hall towards the bathroom, noticing as I went that there seemed to be a Hansel-and-Gretel type trail of feathers preceding me. So entrenched was I in my belief that we’ve bred the hunter out of cats in favor of beggars who think food comes from a crinkly bag, that I still didn’t get it, which is why I went to the bathroom like I usually do the moment I get home. It wasn’t until I went to the bedroom (who’s door we thankfully keep closed) that I noticed that the feathers seemed to have taken on a somewhat larger, more hulking shape, and OMFG, is that A MOTHERFUCKING BIRD? Yes. Killer Kokanee brought us a bird, which I suspect would have ended up on J’s pillow had the bedroom door been open.
This necessitated a panicked call to J who had the nerve to not seem perturbed by it all, leaving me the enviable task of sweeping up bird feathers and a tiny, cold carcass and depositing it in the trash. Is that where you’re supposed to put dead birds? Aren’t they technically compostable? I mean, I put fucking BACON scraps in the yard waste container, how is this BIRD any different?
Kokanee lulled me into a false sense of security by not bringing jack shit home for a couple months, which made me think he wasn’t so tough after all. HA! I thought. One little bird doesn’t mean you’re a big shot, and plus, it was probably dead already anyways. Kokanee, tired of my teasing, apparently, brought us home a mouse next.
The only problem with this mouse was that it was ALIVE. Kokanee deposited him gently on the rug under the dining table, and Mr. Mouse scurried directly into the shoe closet. I like to think of myself as not so squeamish, but I was standing on the couch, screaming at J to DO SOMETHING, and trying not to piss my pants. J eventually chased the mouse behind the stove- and we figured he’d find a way outside and that would be the end of that.
HA HA HA. When I got home from work the next day, there was Mr. Mouse, sitting on the windowsill, NEXT TO MY CAT. When I said my cat was a pussy, I wasn’t fucking kidding. There they were, Cat and Mouse, sunning themselves on the windowsill. J came home and wanted to keep the mouse, and was only dissuaded when I actually started packing a suitcase. The mouse was deposited in a nearby park, the thinking being that three blocks is really fucking far when your legs are half an inch long, even though you do have four of them.
Since then, Kokanee has really picked up his game. Rat after dead rat end up on our doorstep, in the middle of the kitchen floor, hidden behind a plant. So this morning, when I opened the door to step out for the day, I was barely surprised to find a soaking wet Kokanee and his trophy on the doorstep. The protocol from there is always the same- praise the cat, pick up the rat and pretend to EAT IT, and discretely shove it into the trash (which, again, why not the compost?? IT’S ORGANIC).
At this point, I’m just a housecoat and curlers away from crazy cat lady.