“Do you want the videographer to be there when you’re getting ready?”

Apparently, Meg has a certain voyeuristic approach to documenting the wedding process. Her current plans are to document the dressing process earlier that day. I’d have been more surprised at this had my sister not done something similar.

For some reason, Meg decided to extend this offer to my pre-wedding ritual as well. This offer comes despite the fact that JJ and I would have a damn field day with that camera that morning (for evidence, remember JJ’s photo shoot with the invitation). Suffice it to say, you won’t be seeing any documentation of my morning pre-Church.

It did get me thinking as to the differences in what Meg and I will be doing that morning. As best I can tell, here is a rough agenda for Meg’s morning:

5:00am: Bolt up in bed, eyes wide open, realizing the fact that the wedding is actually here.
5:01am: Cry.
5:15am: Shower.
6:30am: Finish showering.
6:31am: Cry.
6:45am: Start to get hair and makeup done by a team of specialists that would rival the preparation crew for a NASA shuttle launch.
8:00am: Pause hair and makeup to cry.
8:25am: Finished touching up makeup running from 8am crying.
9:30am: Finished with hair/makeup.
9:35am: Take dress out of protective shrink wrap that, should a nuclear explosion eliminate all life from the greater north east area, future civilizations would still be able to look at the preserved dress and realize our culture was grossly out of whack. Or, in the spirit of Star Wars, you can use the imagery of Han Solo frozen in carbonite.
9:47am: Still removing dress wrapping.
10:03am: Look at removed dress. Cry.
10:30am: Set up dress in applicator.
10:32am: Stand on bed, ready to jump feet first into dress.
10:37am: Fix hair from jumping too high and banging head on ceiling.
10:49am: Retry Leap of Fate into dress.
12:03pm: Finish locking dress into place.
12:05pm: Stare at reflection in mirror. Cry.
12:07pm: Bridesmaids cry.
12:13pm: Hairdresser and Makeup Lady cry.
12:18pm: Bring in random people from the hallway to cry.
12:58pm: Still crying.
1:03pm: Catch limo to Villanova.
1:12pm: Send out tactical SWAT team to ensure Jay cannot see Meg in her dress before the wedding starts.
1:20pm: Stand in sound proof room in the back of the church, waiting for the wedding to start.
1:21pm: Cry.
1:29pm: Finish crying.
1:30pm: Wedding starts.

For comparison, here is what I am anticipating from my morning:

9:00am: Wake up at JJ’s apartment.
9:03am: “Holy Shit, I’m geting married” shot of vodka.
9:05am: Playing World of Warcraft with JJ.
10:00am: Breakfast.
10:30am: Playing World of Warcraft with JJ.
10:47am: Fart. We both laugh.
10:52am: Still laughing.
12:00pm: “Jay, don’t you have something to do today?”
12:17pm: “Dude, that one still smells.” Laugh again.
12:30pm: “One more level and we’ll call it a day.”
1:00pm: “Shit, I need to shower.”
1:03pm: “Shit, I need to shave.”
1:08pm: Scratch ass. Smile for picture while doing so (if the photographer were to document this process).
1:10pm: Playing World of Warcraft with JJ.
1:15pm: Racing to Villanova Church with JJ and camera man in tow.
1:26pm: Running across Villanova parking lot at full speed. Camera man has fallen over twice.
1:28pm: Paper towel off sweat from cross campus sprint to make it on time.
1:28pm: Fart. All 6 groomsmen laugh.
1:30pm: Wedding starts.
1:37pm: Lucas leans over and reinforces the fact that he can’t believe I farted right before my wedding.
1:39pm: Dirty look from priest for still laughing.

Bear with me if this blog is a little unorganized today. If it is, it’s a good indication of what my day is shaping up to be. As I ate breakfast this morning I was looking over my perpetual to do list, realizing that the whirlwind tour of Cherry Hill it is going to take me on will necessitate stopping for gas at least once. I will concede to the fact that I can handle this amount of work seeing as we’re a week out from the wedding; had I had this sort of list two months ago, my head would have exploded.

“Did you get your groomsmen gifts yet?”
“My what-oh son of a bitch, don’t tell me I have to get them presents too.”
“Yes. That’s what you get for having 6 of them.”

You know, seeing as it’s our wedding, I’m buying an awful lot of gifts for other people. Speaking of gifts, you’d be hard pressed to find a diamond tennis bracelet anywhere in this house at present moment. Meg’s gift, or rather the first step of figuring out just what the hell to get her on top of her engagement and weddings rings, is another item on the aforementioned to do list.

“Have you figured out what you’re going to say at the rehearsal dinner?”
“What do you mean?”
“Your speech.”
“My speech? Lucas has to give one, not me. What do I have to talk about?”
[Meg bats her eyes lovingly]

New to do list item: “Find something nice to say about Meg.”

Meg’s busy today too. She’s on her way to Drexelbrook to finalize the plans and make the final payment. She asked if I wanted to go with her, but I realized that I can’t even be in the same state as the signing of that check. Though I did help her load the car with the first batch of stuff we’re providing to Drexelbrook.

“What are ‘knapkins’ ?”
“Hehe… ya, I misspelled napkins.”
“Well… no shit. I’m not even going to ask why we’re providing Drexelbrook with napkins.”
“They’re monogrammed.”

In addition to the knapkins, I loaded a bunch of boxes of favors.

“Could you grab the other box in the garage?”
[from garage] “The only one in here is the Alienware box.”
“Ya, that one.”
“You disgraced the Alienware box with wedding shit?”

Like I’ve said before, the good news of all this is that Meg is really, really relaxed lately. In fact, I’m probably more worried on behalf of her than she is. But I’m glad that her head is in the right place, she’s accepted the fact that anything that isn’t done yet, or hasn’t been thought of, can’t be important enough to ruin the day. I can’t tell you how much more bearable it makes both of our lives.

I’m amazed at the outcry over the idea that my wedding bashing days may be over. I wanted to make sure I got the thank you out of the way in enough time for people to see it. That having been said, I’m the best man in Squeak’s wedding in November and in Lucas’ wedding sometime in the year 2007, so I’m far from being free from the overdone world of weddings.

Last week, my uncle threw a birthday part for my aunt. It wasn’t too big, but it did involve a number of cousins and aunt/uncles on my dad’s side. Of the two sides of my family, this is the side we end up seeing most. This was evident in the fact that I could actually name the better portion of them, and in some cases, even describe their relationship to me with reasonable accuracy. The irony of this is that many of them took the liberty of introducing themselves to both myself as well as Meg.

Let me just say, this is a good strategy. If you people think I’m joking about not remembering most of you, I’m not. Much appreciation to those who remove the awkwardness of me trying to introduce my new wife to people I don’t know with this go-getter attitude.

I came to another realization during the course of the party. A good percentage of the conversations I am going to have at the wedding will be carbon copies of each other. Nearly everyone had the same set of questions that smacked of “Well, I don’t actually know anything about you, so let me just ask the standard wedding related questions.” In an attempt to get through these questions as quickly as possible, I entertained the idea of printing up a FAQ for our wedding/relationship/future. While I’m sure Meg won’t let me do this, I can still get away with this on the web site. So, below is your wedding cheatsheet in an attempt to reduce, however minimally, the number of times we have to repeat ourselves (credit goes to Meg’s coworker Lisa for warning us ahead of time of this phenomenon).

First, I’ll lead in with the cliche, friendly, ass kissing line I’m going to say to everyone.

“Thank you so much for coming. It’s so good to see you again.”

If I say that to you, realize I’m just trying to blow you off so I can get another drink. If you dare follow that up by telling me you haven’t seen me since I was “this big”, realize Lucas is wearing a shirt under his tuxedo that says “STAFF” and he will be functioning as a bouncer in addition to his best man duties. In fact, I’m contemplating making him mention that during his speech.

I then anticipate the conversation going something like the following.

“Where did you two meet?”
“Villanova. Meg got me drunk on rum and coke and took the liberty of putting her name, phone number, and AOL IM name all over my apartment.”

“How long have you been dating?”
“5 1/2 long ass years. It’s officially the longest hangover the world has ever known.”

“Where are you going on your honeymoon?
“St. Maarten. Yes, it should be beautiful. I’m planning on consuming my weight in margaritas.”

“Where are you two going to live?”
“We have lived together for 2 1/2 years in a townhouse in Marlton, NJ. Meg is a bit of an airhead and dances around the house, while I can’t maintain the house for shit and small, flying mammals have the ability to incapacitate me. Oh ya, and if there is a fire across the street, there is a strong possibility that we will sleep through the whole thing.”

“When are you having kids (insert goofy, bashful laugh here)?”
“Not too far away. Maybe even as early as within the next two years. Earlier if Rob and Becca’s next kid comes out even remotely as cute as Kaleigh.”

“Now that it’s all over, was the wedding planning really as bad as you made it out to be?”
“You bet your ass it was.”

For those of you who can’t attend, read that conversation while eating an overpriced chicken dinner and watered down alcohol and you’ll magically feel as if you were there.

So now that that is out of the way, I expect to hear some more interesting questions asked to Meg and myself at the reception. I may even bring a few copies of this blog to the wedding, just in case.

In doing my share of house duties, I found myself cleaning off our outside deck so it can be powerwashed (you’ll notice I didn’t phrase it “so I can powerwash it”). Part of this task involved bringing a surprising amount of empty beer bottles down to the garage.

To give those of you who haven’t been to my house an idea, my deck is off of the second floor. I had to walk down the stairs, through the hallway, and through the house entrance to the garage. Naturally, I left this last door open to facilitate the numerous trips I had to make.

On my last trip, as I’m walking down the stairs I notice a flutter in the light in the hallway. Before having a chance to wonder what it was, I notice a bird doing circles around our hallway.

“SHIT” I exclaimed, out loud, despite the fact that I was knowingly home alone.

Lucky for me, tweety flew back into the garage. I quickly closed the door. I thought for a second and realized the easiest solution would be to open the garage and let him fly away. We have some serious bird problems in this neighborhood, with birds nesting above our garage (in addition to some other places), so I passed on the opportunity to make him an example to his friends.

Thankfully, I’m not scared of birds. Even more thankfully, Meg wasn’t home. Meg is petrified of birds (and bats for that matter, as I learned in Aruba), so suffice it to say her screeching in the background wouldn’t have helped the situation.

So, I put my sneakers on and opened the garage door. I see the little bastard flying circles around my garage.

At this point, I become aware of something that I had noticed earlier, but only subconsciously. Its wings weren’t flapping nearly as frantically as I do most birds. Its square flight pattern was much more graceful, or at very least, less spastic than most birds.

Upon further inspection, it turns out that tweety was in fact a bat. And he wasn’t in any rush to vacate my garage.

Some readers on this site, namely from around Meg’s home, are neither surprised nor disgusted by this fact. Others, for instance my North Jersey, “city boy” friends, will likely be amazed that bats even live in the NJ area, much less the US in general.

I decide he’s probably attracted to the light that was still on in the garage, so I start to draw up a plan to shut off the light without getting too close to this blood-sucking flying mammal. The best I could come up with was to grab a nearby broom and use that to turn off the light switch, which was alarmingly close to the bat’s flight pattern. That way, if he decided to morph into a vampire, I could fend him off with the cunning use of a broom. No, I didn’t check to see if I had any garlic in the house, but that’s mainly because I knew for a fact that we didn’t.

I suppose at this point, a little backstory is necessary. I hate yardwork. I’m allergic to grass and oak trees, so to a certain extent, you have to give me a little slack. What this amounts to is that I am pretty much the comical parody of the typical neighborhood husband. Most of the men in the neighborhood are outside in shorts, tank tops/no shirts, happily mowing the lawn or working on their cars. When I finally decide to mow the lawn (which is to say, Meg locks me outside until it’s done), I’m out there in long pants and a long sleeve shirt. I mow my lawn as quickly and half assedly as possible, race inside, and jump immediately into a shower.

I tell you that story to further paint the picture of me against the bat. I’m standing in my driveway, in pajama shorts and a cut off, and I’m holding a broom as if I were a trained martial artist wielding a sword-

Wait, let me try that again.

I’m holding the broom as if I were a goofy, uncoordinated computer programmer pretending he is a trained martial artist wielding a sword.

I am standing in my driveway, facing my garage. A bat, donning a whopping 6 inch wingspan, is circling (rather, squaring) around my garage. And if that wasn’t pathetic enough, I’m not even attempting to subdue the bat directly. I am inching up the side of my garage, broom outstretched, flapping it wildly trying to shut off the light switch.

Had the bat flown in my direction, there is a good chance I would have, for the first time in my life, “shrieked”.

The good news, is that what I lack in testosterone and general masculinity, I make up for in intellect. My plan worked, and the bat quickly flew out to finish his business elsewhere. I scooped up what was left of my dignity, and went back inside to my bat-free house.

Despite all of this, everyone is abolutely not allowed to laugh at the part of our wedding where in my vows I promise to “love and protect” Meg.

“Who the hell is that?”

After approximately 463 days of wedding planning, I still don’t know 75% of the people invited. I’ve given up trying at this point; if I have to struggle to introduce you to my new wife, you deserve the awkwardness of eating and drinking at my wedding without properly knowing me.

I got home from jiu jitsu tonight before Meg got home from the gym. I raced to shower and snack, and was literally on my way to my sanctuary (read: gaming computer) when Meg intercepted me and asked for (read: demanded on pain of death) 5 minutes of my time for wedding crap. When she wouldn’t concede to letting me play a game during the 5 minutes, I realized that Bridezilla was dead serious and well past the point of screwing around.

Consequently, I didn’t even struggle as she forcefully led me to her laptop. There I found the golden Excel spreadsheet.

Fact: The meaning of life can be described using Excel.

Along the bottom of the worksheet (if that’s even the term; I actually had a real major in college and didn’t have an entire class devoted to Excel) were a series of tabs that, if one couldn’t attend the wedding, could be used to visualize the entire ordeal to the smallest of details. I decided against flipping around the tabs; if I were to see any costs I would immediately go blind and attempt to stab myself with a spoon.

What I did see was the tab marked “Coming”, which, unbeknownst to me (but knownst to Meg), represents the table breakdown.

Both historically and in man urban legend, the seating arrangement is renowned as one of the more difficult, and to a large extent downright offensive, wedding tasks. I however wasn’t quite so worried about this chore. My mom would be handling my family, Meg handling hers, so short of coworkers, there was little I had to do.

Miraculously, I was correct (for those of you keeping track at home, that puts the total number of times I’ve been correct during the wedding extravaganza up to one). I was asked to proof the seating arrangements for my coworkers. Meg had done a good job based on who she knows, and I had no changes.

As I perused the rest of the list, I found, not surprisingly, that I didn’t recognize a good deal of the names. A few I did, such as friends, immediate family, and annoying cousin-in-laws whose names rhyme with “fancy”. I then got to the list of the bridal party, which also went off without a hitch. I kept reading.

“Mr. and Mrs. Jason Dobies”

The noise I uttered can best be described as a cross between the yelp a dog emits when you step on its tail and the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. For some reason, seeing it in writing shocked the hell out of me.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t some sort of subliminal cold feet or anything, so don’t run to the comments with theories of me not wanting this (after all, let’s remember who initiated this production with the foolish purchase of one ring). It’s just strange seeing the “Mrs. Jason Dobies” as a reality (granted, I always thought it was stupid that Meg loses all sense of identity post-marriage, but the sentiment is there). Along the same lines, I think it’s going to be weird the first few times I see her sign something “Meghan Dobies”. But strange in a good way; as patriarchal as it is for her to take my last name, the tradition of it all still conjures up the “Oh shit, I’m married” emotion.