We had our first of two days of Pre Cana classes today, which for me is followed by leaving for an air force base in Langley on Monday. It’s a one-night trip, but the net effect is that Saturday through Tuesday is lost. As fate would have it, my classes came down hard and fast this semester (in addition to FedEx delaying my book arrivals), leaving me grossly behind after the first week and no time to actually catch up.

Needless to say, it was a struggle to keep an open mind throughout this whole procedure. We arrived at the “conference center” to find it looks alarmingly similar to a haunted house. I swear I could actually see the little girls from The Shining in the highest window in the house. A cold, dark place, it did little to raise my spirits about my situation. The first 15 minutes or so actually had Meg’s spirits dipping to my level.

Nuns. There were nuns inside. I’d rather have come face to face with the aforementioned Shining girls.

We had to make “Hello, my name is” name tags. They had blue and red markers. How cute.

They provided some food that could not be taken out of the dining area, but that didn’t turn out to be a problem because they left it out throughout the duration of the day, letting me stop in and snack at all possible times. My 8 meals a day eating schedule is a real pain in the ass, which will be reaffirmed on Tuesday as I try to sneak a protein bar onto a classified air force base. Lucas can attest, the foil wrapping on those things has gotten me into trouble before, but that’s another story.

Where was I? Oh ya, so the actual retreat really wasn’t all that bad. We had a speaker on Communication, which was fairly interesting. After that, the men and women separated to write a letter to their mate about where they think their communication needs to be improved. After 10 minutes, we got together with our fiancees to discuss what we wrote. That was also the format for the second talk on Finances, and will be for tomorrow’s talks on Sexuality and Spirituality.

The talks were decent, but the good points were the discussions with Meg. It felt like what I imagine marriage therapy would be, and even through we’re not having problems in our relationship I think it’s good to sit and talk about that kind of stuff once and a while. It served as a nice reminder as to why Meg and I are getting married, and not surprisingly we didn’t uncover any ground-breaking issues.

So, I left the retreat in fairly good spirits. We had 3 hours to burn, so we went to Barnes and Noble so I could make some progress on my homework. We walked around Nova for a bit, and then we had the Liturgy and Music Workshop.

This is where things got… interesting.

We were first spoken to, or more appropriately “lectured at”, by the chief Wedding Nazi at Villanova. Meg didn’t seem to feel this way, but I found this woman to be totally obnoxious. Now maybe it’s my general attitude towards “tradition for the sake of tradition”, but the things that Nova require, or perhaps just the presentation by Adolf herself, really started to bug me. She went over who has to walk in the procession, how we have to stand, and so on.  Some others asked if so-and-so could be done, and was typically met with a negative response.

Once the Nazi was finished, Eugene Levy was introduced as the music coordinator. I turned to Meg to make the obligatory American Pie comment, however she quickly dropped her head in anticipation of my comment. It was uncanny, this guy’s eyebrows were insane.

He went on to sample all of our options for music at various points throughout the ceremony. All of them. Here’s the kicker. As he played them, he was accompanied by a flute player (no, I can’t spell the real term) and a trumpet player (no, I don’t even know the real term). The music sounded good. However, we glanced ahead to the payment section of the program to find that each was an extra $150. So the whole demo turned out to be a big buttonhook because you had to pay extra to have it sound that nice.

The complications continued. We could get bagpipes for an additional $150. However, they are only allowed to play for the 15 minutes prior to the wedding, outside of the church.

$150, 15 minutes. Do the math.

Needless to say, once I discovered that the music we were hearing was not what we would get as part of the required cost, I was disillusioned to the whole process. Luckily the bathroom in the church was locked, so I got to run half way across campus to relieve myself and burn some time.

So, that was day 1. I’m not thrilled about having to drive all the way back out there tomorrow and spend my whole Sunday in a similar process, but at least the retreat itself isn’t all that painful. At very least, it forces me to put aside schoolwork and spend time with Meg.

This is a post I’ve wanted to make since well before the site actually went live. In fact, it is largely the reason behind the “His and Her Journals” concept. It revolves around a revelation I had near the start of all the wedding planning. It is also a post that I fear will get me into quite a bit of trouble.

I’m a geek. No, this is not the revelation, I’ve known this for quite some time now. I’m a computer dork by trade and by hobby (case and point, I created and host this site). I like Lord of the Rings. I play video games. By all definitions, I am a geek.

Being a geek, prior to meeting Meg I was often shunned by the opposite sex (still not sure how Meg managed to see past it, but I have a hunch it rhymes with “Sum and Coke”). Me and my brethern geeks like things like hobbits and knights and dragons. Most women think they are childish.

Yet, once all of the Hallmark fluff and propaganda has twisted marriage into a “wedding”, what we are left with is a day where a woman can dress up and pretend she is a princess.

Let me explain. For those of you who haven’t heard a woman describe her wedding, it is always “beautiful” and “elegant” and “perfect” and “white” (everything in a wedding is white, just take my word on that one). Women spend exorbitant amounts of money on insanely long, white, and otherwise jeweled dresses that require a larger staff of people to carry it than are required to pilot most small ships. They sit on a metaphorical (or in many cases, physical) throne for all to see. They gather an entourage of friends and relatives to wait on them hand and foot (sorry if this is a surprise to any of the women in Meg’s bridal party, but rest assured this is in fact your role).

Short of having a court jester (which many would argue is the groom), a wedding is effectively a way for a woman to enter a fantasy world and live out dreams of being a princess. Where geeks like to imagine a world in which knights rule the land, women actually go so far as to spend insane amounts of money to actually visualize a similar fantasy.

Yet somehow, my fascination with elves and twenty dollar Lord of the Rings DVD makes ME the geek.

Well, we just finished taking our Pre Cana test for Villanova. Truth be told, it brought up some interesting questions. None that are going to make us reconsider getting married or anything, but interesting nonetheless.

It started out with some demographic information. That part was pretty easy, I felt like I actually had what they would consider a “correct” answer when I got to put “No” for “Are you pregnant?”

The test then moved into just under 200 questions that I got to answer on an old school Scantron answer sheet. The possible answers were “Agree”, “Disagree”, and “Uncertain”; not exactly a fine level of granularity in which to express myself. The booklet said not to share our answers with each other, which simply proved that Meg and I “agree” that directions are not meant to be followed.

The questions were related to a number of different things, religious, financial, sexual, and drugs/alcohol to name a few. The weird part is that they weren’t grouped by section, so they kept jumping around from topic to topic.

There were a few questions I noticed had to be total red flag questions. As in, if we answered differently, the church would kick us out before we even got to the class. For instance, “I am hoping that marriage will solve some of the major problems in my life.” That was question 122, but I imagine that putting “Agree” as the answer immediately disqualifies you from anything having to do with marriage. Same with “I have doubts that my commitment to this marriage is strong enough for a lifetime.”

My favorite had to be “I sometimes feel that this may not be the right person for me to marry.” Now, I’m no relationship expert, but there is a distinctly correct answer to that question. I’d love to see some woman get button-hooked in the Pre Cana class by having the priest show her that her fiancee or, “future spouse” as the test kept calling them, submitted a response indicating he’s not sure she’s the one. Alas, I don’t imagine I’ll be seeing anything that entertaining at these classes.

Another quality question was “Drinking or using drugs causes my future spouse to act inappropriately.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but is that not the whole purpose of drinking in the first place? I’d also love to see what they definition of “inappropriately” is.

So, that was the test, or at least a small subset of the test. Pre Cana is in two weeks, and it’s definitely going to be interesting. Rest assured I’ll be posting some color commentary on the events of that weekend. That is, unless I managed to foul up any of the answers on this test so badly that they just disqualify me before I even get there…