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.