Everything Changed

Then, 4 weeks before our wedding, everything changed.

Tuesday morning, September 11th, 2001, I was at work. Without a TV, and only getting second-hand reports from co-workers who had desk radios, it took me a while to find out what was really going on.

As a former New Yorker, I swung into crisis mode, sending off frantic emails, trying to place calls that never went through.

I couldn’t even get through to the building just across the street from me. I was stuck waiting for Jeff to return from his morning deliveries, and either get through to me by phone or come find me.

4 hours later, I finally heard from him; he was coming to get me. Traffic was lined up as far as the eye could see on the two lane road that ran between us. Most everyone was trying to get home to somewhere. It took Jeff  30 minutes to cross the street, and then another 30 minutes for someone to let us out of my office driveway.

7 hours later, we left Ann Arbor, drove straight to the credit union, took out as much cash as allowed. Limit was $200.00, but Jeff made one with drawl,I made another, and we considered ourselves fortunate to have cash.

It was 7:00 pm by the time I was finally able to sit in front of our TV. I was in shock and shaking, so over-whelmed that tears would not come.  We shifted from station to station hearing that, for our own good, much had been edited out. Images considered too graphic or too scary had been removed from every broadcast.

In an uneasy way, I felt cheated by that. In an easier way, I now feel blessed by my hours of limited and now filtered information. Our phone rang non-stop. Jeff would hang up with one person, and another would call. Family and friends all checking up on each other.

The internet was still a bit young, growing and nurturing connections and reconnections. The world was searching for answers, and so was I. Message replies began coming in slowly. A few came on the 12th, a few on the 13th. There were some that took over a week to get back to me.

From Japan: “In one sense we feel very grateful to be on a military installation. On the other hand, we feel like a target. As I told the children this morning as we sat in front of the TV, material things don’t  matter when you are facing eternity.”

From NYC: “I was en-route to Midtown during the plane crashes and in the office for the rest. I did not see, hear or feel anything. I can’t get over this. My father keeps telling me that my room at home is ready, if I want to return.”

From NYC: “It took me forever to get out of the city, but I made it home. I won’t be going anywhere for a while.”

From Ireland: “I’m stunned. I don’t ever want to lose contact with you, again!”

From Georgia: “I’ve wanted to cry, but the tears just aren’t coming, yet.”

From NJ: “I’m fine. Thank you for checking up on me. I’m fine. My sister who works for the Fed Gov got home ok. God Bless and stay safe.”

From NJ: “I can still see the smoke rising. I’m sorry. I can’t make the trip to Michigan. I just can’t.”

From MA: “I’m still coming to your wedding. I am not afraid, and if the flight goes, I’ll be there!!!”

Those last two messages… our wedding was about to change.

Quote for the Week:

2016 06 28 The plans we make, the lives we live jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

How the Internet Broke on 9/11: https://www.washingtonpost.com

Effects on Industry: http://traveltips.usatoday.com/

Cooperation & Stress: http://www.scientificamerican.com/





The Pout

“Yes.” Jeff responded with as much exasperation as he could muster, which wasn’t much.  “I can be in charge of something,” he pouted a little.

Besides the fact that he was right, the pout always undid me. Actually, the pout itself wasn’t the thing that swayed me. It was the pout combined with the boyishly hopeful look in his eyes.

When given the chance (aka as me letting something go), Jeff made great inroads.

He conquered the wedding menu, listed the songs he really wanted the DJ to play and made sure he had some of the ones the DJ wasn’t likely to have handy. He took care of picking up the flowers and mums and getting them to the bar before the ceremony.

Jeff was also in charge of getting our self-penned vows and the ceremony in order for the minister. We received a great draft and ok’d it and we were feelin’ pretty good about everything.

Having never done this before, and not since, either, I’m not sure every state works or doesn’t work the way Michigan does.

In Lenawee County, you cannot get a marriage license more than 33 days before your wedding. There’s also a 3-day waiting period. There’s no need for blood tests or pre-marriage counseling. However, law requires various educational materials make it into your hand: pre-natal care, prevention of VD and HIV.

Based on that, and the fact that I had an outpatient medical procedure appointment coming up, we decided that we would both take the full-day off work, go to my appointment, and then to get our license.

There’s something to be said for efficiency, right?

Quote for the Week:

2016 06 21 Efficiency may be the name of the game jakorte


Extras: 2016 06 21 Wedding Ceremonies jakorte

2016 06 21 weddingbudget jakorte2016 06 21 weddingsonglist jakorte

2016 06 21 wedding menu jakorte

Plain: Uneasy

Flowers were done in two stages. We went with a traditional florist, boutonnières and bouquets and a cake-fall of rust colored roses. For the wedding alter, foil wrapped buckets of plantable maroon, yellow and rust mums came from a roadside stand belonging to an acquaintance of Jeff’s.

We used my paternal grandmother’s custom-made cocktail ring as our engagement piece, until we could find what I was looking for.

Many jewelry stores later, it became apparent that what I wanted wasn’t… normal.

We’d stand at the case inspecting rings and sets as best we could through the glass. Pretty much the moment we decided to leave the store, a high-pressure salesperson would insist on pulling out trays of popular styles.

“Sorry,” I’d say shaking my head. “I just don’t see what I want here.”

The next question was, “Can you describe what you’re looking for?”

I wanted a plain white gold band, no filigree, inset – no raised mounting, and no huge diamond.

Most of the time, they’d come up with something as close as they had: a plain-ish, high band with a large raised diamond on an even higher setting.

“No, sorry,” I’d say. “I want something smaller and not so high. I don’t want to catch it on anything.”

Most of the jewelers would stand back rocking on their heels, and then say something to Jeff with the gist of, “You’re a lucky man! Most brides want bigger…” or “I’ve never seen anything like that. Good luck!”

I accidentally found the elusive perfect ring on a lunch break with a co-worker. She was running an errand, picking up something at Hudson’s, and I tagged along.

As we passed the jewelry counter, I veered off. I was just stopping for a moment to see what they had to offer, since all of the jewelry stores had mostly identical goods.

It was just as I imagined and close to 1/5th of the cost of any rings we had looked at. I was close to just buying it for myself, when I flashed back to the mangled getting -engaged experience and asked if it could be held.

Because it was ridiculously marked down on sale, the answer was a regretful, “No.” Although, the counter woman did inform me that she didn’t think anyone had looked at that ring, ever.

When Jeff picked me up after work for our usual commute home, I frantically told him I had found what I wanted and that we had to go to the store immediately.

“Okay,” he said. So, that’s what we did.

I wanted to swap out my grandmother’s cocktail ring for my new engagement ring, and start wearing it right away.

Jeff said that would be bad luck, especially since we didn’t have an actual wedding band to go with my diamond. Mr. Romantic said he wanted me to save it and begin wearing it on my wedding day because he wanted it to be special.

“I love you,” I said, holding out my hand to take back the ring and the box.

“Oh, no,” Jeff said. “I’m keeping it.”

“Somewhere safe?” I asked.


Quote for the Week:

2016 06 14 A little mystery is a good thing jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Um, no: https://www.theknot.com/content/engagement-ring-trends

Why Mums: http://www.teleflora.com/meaning-of-flowers/chrysanthemum

Put a Thimble On It: http://mentalfloss.com/article/26619/why-engagement-rings-are-made-diamonds

Green Tape

Jeff was a crafty fellow.

Not that you could ever tell that by looking at him. In fact, if you didn’t know him well, you’d probably never even suspect; latch hooking, beading, Christmas Ornaments.

He loved crafts, and was talented, too. I have a Dream Catcher Jeff fashioned from a kit, adding his own touches of shells and beads.  It’s hung in every place I’ve called home on my own since 2006.

Among the other treasures I’ve carried with me and moved 4 times, is the wedding one.

Like so many other “it’s so easy,” projects that really seem that way in print, it was a little more complicated and a little more time consuming than we had imagined.  We worked on this feat of engineering together.

We started on a Saturday afternoon, which turned into an evening. After 5 hours, I wanted to abandon the idea . “We’re never going to get this,” I pouted showing him another limp, feeble and ugly attempt.

“Look,” he grinned, proudly holding up the one he had just finished. “We’ve almost got it!”

I admit it looked way better than any of the ones I had attempted, and considering he was waving it around a bit, it held together way better than the dozen or so attempts.

I agreed to give it one more try, this time, we split the pieces up. I did my assigned part, and Jeff did his. And just like that, we had one that looked like it was supposed to and didn’t fall apart when it was put down and lifted back up.

We spent hours lazily multitasking. Doing a few here and there, or parked on the couch watching NASCAR or American Idol or Antiques Roadshow or This Old House, working for an hour or so, or until our fingers were sore.

I had the first 3 steps. The 4th step took two of us working together. Jeff was the finisher. Wrapping each stem in green floral tape required the most patience and the most finger-work.

And, yes, I still have one, and, yes, that’s it pictured below.

The kisses are close to petrified, and the cellophane is leaving little trails of disintegration dust behind… but it’s still a treasure to me.

Quote for the Week:

2016 06 07 Maybe we didn’t need to split the parts jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Prob a Better Way: https://www.hersheys.com/celebrate/valentines/craftdetail.aspx?id=6

Dude Craft: http://www.dudecraft.com/  Jeff would have loved this, and we’d probably own a 3-D printer by now…

Knitting Saves a Man’s Life; https://www.yahoo.com/makers/will-knit-for-food-crafting-literally-saves-123155753715.html