There is nothing quite like a joining of forces between Team Practical and a hurricane to realign one’s priorities.
With three weeks until the wedding it has been painfully obvious that I am deep in the throes of Planning. The kind of Type-A checklist-driven-the-world-revolves-around-my-wedding, right? planning that I would seriously fault myself for if it wasn’t so damn common.
Enter Yay New York and Hurricane Irene, poised to knock me right off my feet (and schedule).
Making time for the Yay New York party in the midst of our madness was non-negotiable, but I hadn’t really had time to get excited about it until I was sitting at my desk Thursday morning. I had been too busy being up picking out an outfit and shaving my legs at 1am, dragging myself to yoga at 10am, and slogging through the rain with 3 outfits (yoga/work/party) worth of crap at 11am to even think about what the point of it all was.
Once I started reading Meg’s live-blogging, I found myself hit by not excitement over partying and raising money for a good cause (well maybe a little of that), but by what really mattered—the very personal impact of the day on the couples getting married. For the first time, something I have read over and over, but had never felt for myself, hit home: We are so, so privileged to have the option to marry. And I am so thrilled/relieved/proud to be living in a state that is *finally* extending that right to everyone.
Philosophically, I’ve always been a supporter of gay marriage, but I’ve never been able to shake the feeling that it’s not my place to fight for it. But Meg managed to convince me otherwise both in her writing that day, and in her thank you speech that night—which I wish I could quote to you all, because the lady is even more eloquent, funny, and persuasive in person than advertised.
The gravity of all of this made me determined to treasure that evening, even when I had a million and one things on my mind and to-do list—from the lovely dinner with my fiance before the party, to getting to see faces (Meg! Zan! Sarah! Rachel! Mary!) in person(!), to the happy, glow-y dancing in a night that became my de facto bachelorette when my actual party was canceled due to Hurricane Irene.
I momentarily wished I could hear above the awesome music to actually converse in person(!) with these ladies who I virtually chat with all the time, until I realized we could go back to chatting on Friday, but the physical connection of being there dancing, actually together in the same state/city/room, was what was magical that night. And we danced our faces and asses off—not that I was surprised, because MY people are always the ones that dance. If Yay NY was a glimmer of the joy and fun I have waiting for me at my own wedding, then it is going to be so, so worth it. And every single person in love deserves the opportunity to have that, and all that comes after.
Friday morning I woke up slightly hung over, to the news that my Saturday night bachelorette party had been canceled because of Hurricane Irene. (Which Sarah, as awesome as she is, did her best to resurrect for me.) I thought my friends were overreacting just a teensy bit, so I started reading the news. Whereupon my commitment to wedding-planning productivity on my day off gradually dissolved, and by the time Bloomberg announced that transit was shutting down at noon Saturday, I was having a mild panic attack and my canceled bachelorette was the least of my concerns.
I went for a run, trying to quell the physical sensations of anxiety that were gushing through my veins with a persistence I hadn’t felt since the days leading up to having minor surgery last February when I discovered my phobia of anesthesia. “I don’t do natural disasters,” I thought to myself. Whenever shit has gone down in NY, I’ve been in LA or vice versa. And then it occurred to me that maybe my old roommate Kim was the good luck charm, not me, as I had experienced Hurricanes Gloria and Bob right there on Long Island, and of course, as soon as she left the state we had a horrible heat wave, earthquake, and now hurricane…
Why was I so panicked, you ask? This is why:
My beloved, and inappropriately close oak tree, which has weathered Gloria, Bob, and my entire childhood, is nearing the end of its days. I had to stop ignoring this imminent threat last March when a Nor’easter (That came out nowhere! Life is less stressful when you don’t watch the news!), knocked down tons of huge trees in our neighborhood, and Scott insisted, moved ours about 4 inches closer to the house. I denied it, but he was totally right. This big girl has to go.
But, we’re procrastinators, and have a wedding to pay for, so she’s still here.
And so I panicked. All through a Friday planning meeting at our venue (wow, there are a lot of trees there too) with our wedding stage manager, all through a Michael’s shopping trip to pick up things I could craft with no power. And all through Saturday AM’s beach yoga class that for the first time in 2 summers was moved indoors. I panicked through a Trader Joe’s shopping trip which resulted in a shit ton of chocolate-based products, and through a Saturday spent doing everything I could on the computer/internet in case we were out of power for days on end, watching CNN compulsively and downing said chocolate products.
Somewhere in there we also “battened down the hatches,” which resulted in the two of us being covered in so many mosquito bites they made us violent with rage for the whole weekend.
I panicked straight through Saturday night until a 1am brooch bouquet crafting session, until we settled into a sleeping spot that I hoped and prayed was out of the way of a tree branch (doubtful) and passed out from sheer exhaustion at 3am. I promptly woke up at 5am, and panicked through the worst part of the storm until Scott got up and convinced me that everything was really fine by standing outside and smoking.
Twitter confirmed, and finally I was brave enough to go outside and discover this:
I’m calling it a triumph.
What did I learn from all of this? From googling “what to do if a tree falls on your house” and reading the fine print on my homeowners insurance?
I learned that being a homeowner is a game changer. (Being parentless helps too—as I realized when Scott’s mom called him more times last weekend than in the entire 5 years we’ve been together combined.) I am officially a grown up. There’s no way around it. If I don’t stockpile water (in empty tequila bottles), or pack an emergency bag, or pay the homeowners insurance bill at 11pm the night before a hurricane, no one else will.
It was frightening, and yet liberating, as I finally felt justified in my worrying.
And what did I learn about worrying?
Less chocolate, more vegetables.