I don’t know anyone who’s had a wedding date set before being proposed to. Heck, I was there to help Simon pick out a wedding/engagement ring for me, and I even took him to David’s Bridal to pick out the cheapest wedding dress I liked (which turned out to be the first one they showed me).
Apparently it’s normal for a herd of women to shop for dresses and the bridal gown together. One bride-to-be wore a glittering Bachelorette tiara and her company fawned over her. Another group chatted about how pretty their bride-to-be was in every dress she’d tried on, along with other stuff that made my eyes glaze over with boredom. Weddings are a big to-do.
Whatever. I contentedly wore whatever I’d happened to don that day, fell in love with my dress, picked out a flowery necklace that turned out to be half the labeled price (woot), and let the lady helping top off everything with a veil. I’d originally opposed the veil since I didn’t see the point in it, but as soon as she stuck it on my head, I stopped rambling to admire myself in the semicircle of mirrors.
“Aw, I feel so pretty!”
Simon broke into laughter and I couldn’t help but laugh at my own 180 attitude change. The veil completed the outfit, making me feel like a genuine bride. Shoes were unnecessary. I intended to go barefoot. I’m 5’10”. I don’t do heels.
I must’ve been the fastest shopper that store has ever seen. Simon and I spent more time waiting for our turn to be helped than we did picking out dresses and trying them on.
I wondered how Simon would propose to me. As non-traditional as we are, I didn’t want it to be something bland, and I didn’t want to see it coming. Simon managed to both catch me by surprise and propose in a way that suited both our personalities. I very much like my ring and now feel incomplete on the rare occasions I take it off.
We kicked off our 17-hour drive at 5:30 A.M. Mountain Time and arrived around 1:30 A.M. Kansas time. The drive was scenic but long. Arizona is spotted with mountains, and blanketed in mesquite trees, cacti, and brush. New Mexico smoothed out somewhat, ditched the mesquite, and laid it on thick with green and red chili farms south of Albuquerque. East of said city, the ground became a little greener, but overall it was red clay dotted with brush, and the terrain continued to flatten out into Texas. We passed the famous Cadillac Ranch, which consists of Cadillacs buried nose-down up to their windshields and painted all over (sorry, no pictures). Its uniqueness attracts multitudes from all over, and there’s a nearby hotel named after it. The below picture is my failed attempted to tell the GS5 to navigate to Newton, Kansas.
We hugged the speed limit in Texas, since local fuzz loves to pull over out-of-staters. Simon was pulled over twice in one day years ago, just for going 1MPH over the limit. He wasn’t given a ticket at least. I took over driving in Amarillo (pronounced am-uh-rill-oh, not ah-maw-ree-yo, as I’d assumed) and an unmarked black truck got my heart pumping when it rode my rear through the city.
“He’s probably running your license plate right now,” Simon said.
The truck had two long antennae sticking up over its back window. I made sure the cruise control was set to 55, the city limit, and focused on driving straight. If the guy turned his lights on, he’d have nothing on me.
The truck changed lanes, begins passing me, and my heart rate slowed. And then my jaw dropped as I realized those two antennae were actually fishing poles. What the hell? Thanks for the heart attack, moron.
We laughed it off as we continued to hug the speed limit until reaching Oklahoma, where the sun dived towards its western slumber and clouds began to gather all around us.
Simon hopped back behind the wheel north of Oklahoma City so I could watch the storms rolling in, and I got quite the thunder storm fix by the time we neared the Kansas-Oklahoma border. We drove in and out of heavy rain all the way to Josh and Meagan’s house, both of whom I texted back and forth over the last three-ish hours of our trek. Boy was it a relief when we pulled into their driveway and could get out of the car for good at last. Since it was raining, we took our essentials inside and promptly passed out in the bed awaiting our arrival.
We didn’t do much all of Saturday, besides recuperate and chat with our hosts. It was nice to put some faces to the multitude of names Simon had run by me. Having worked and lived in Kansas for a handful of years, and being quite the social bug, he has friends all over. Josh and Meagan are a hardworking couple with three kids, Ana, Gage, and Maddox. Me being in the mindset of preparing myself to have kids, I observed how the kids behaved and the parents parented, and learned all I could. Maddox, the youngest, shocked me with how fast the tears stop as soon as he wasn’t frustrated anymore. He liked playing a game on the Kindle but, being around age 2 or 3, his mastery of the game and using the tablet were limited.
Tears take place of speech. At his age, he wants to express more but his brain hasn’t developed enough yet for speech, so it’s quite frustrating for the kid.
Josh is someone I’ve played a bit of WoW with, so it was cool to finally meet another person behind the pixels. He and Simon played WoW together as well, but they became friends through work before that.
Saturday I met Brent and Jessie. Brent’s the kind, comedic guy, and Jessie is another kind person–actually everyone from Kansas was really nice. Jessie had just met me but she helped me with hair, makeup, and photography for the wedding, so kudos to her!
During a trip to Walmart to get food and drink, I got to observe men revert to boys while in public. I caught Brent, Josh, and Simon throwing dog toys at each other, to the dismay of an employee. Thankfully they picked up after themselves, only to be childish in another department. I returned to Meagan and Jessie, and much more peaceful shopping.
Later that same day, I got to meet yet another WoW friend named Hunter. He’s Tammy’s 13-year-old grandson, and his eyes lit up when I told him who I was in WoW. We all enjoyed a treat of grilled–yes grilled–pizza and lots of alcohol. Grilling pizza is actually delicious. It gives the crust a crisp, brick oven baked flavor. On top of that, I tried a sip of several different alcoholic drinks before settling on raspberry vodka in pink lemonade. Yum!
To end the evening, I joined in the fun of playing Call of Duty online after watching Brent, Simon, and Josh have some fun. They gave me a crash course in the controls as a match loaded, but my brain defaulted to Halo and xbox controls, despite the PS3 controller in my hand.
I had the guys laughing for the duration of the three matches I played. At first, I’d gasp and panic while trying to aim every time I spotted an enemy, to which they told me something along the lines of to stop screaming and start shooting. I did. I died a lot but my enemies steadily started dying to my button mashing just as much. At one point I turned around and reflexively mashed buttons at the sight of an enemy in my face. A knife pops up in place of my gun and I get the kill.
“Oh, my god! I’m alive! How’d I kill him like that?”
They told me which button was assigned to the knife but I died a humiliating death at the next melee opportunity. Consciously replicating a happy accident is tough.
I must confess I reverted to shy mode for the first few days. I buried my gaze in my cell phone, playing a war game. After a quick chat with Simon, I forced myself to leave my phone in my purse and be more sociable. I wanted these people to like me and feel comfortable with the person Simon was about to marry.