Friday, September 30, 2011

Wedding Countdown: 7 Days

As I type this, I am watching this week's episode of "Modern Family", catching up on blogs and listening to the baseball playoffs on the radio. Yes, multitasking at its best. Seems very tame for a Friday night. . . of course, that's because I am just stalling for time before the Bachelor Weekend activities begin later tonight. I have no idea what is going on tonight or tomorrow (although I have planned out how I would WANT this weekend to go). All I know is that I have to be ready by 9:30pm tonight and by 8:30pm tomorrow.

Since I have some spare time, I figured I'd write a post since its been over a week since my last one, and update you on what's been going on. Earlier this week the wedding took a major backseat. On Monday morning, on her way to school, one of our hostesses was raped by a guy she met on Facebook. The future Mrs. was so distraught by the entire situation the the wedding reception was almost called off. Only at the urging of her mother, who stated that with everything that has been going on, both families need to have a good party, is the reception still on. Besides that, there major expenses were paid off and the god-mother of the bride, who can't make it because she was recently diagnosed with cancer, paid for us to have a videographer. And the gifts are starting to come in.

Now its on to the wedding week. Ring and tuxedo pick up on Tuesday. Guest start arriving on Wednesday. Rehearsal dinner on Thursday and the big day on Friday. I'll try to sneak some posts in next week, but can't make any promises.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pre-Marriage Counseling

Let's cut to the chase. Through the course of my life I have been in counseling twice. Once was to save my job years ago. The second time was after my grandmother passed away. In my opinion, both times were needed and somewhat successful, but I still see the idea of counseling as a necessary evil. You don't really want to do it, but after its over, you're glad you did. When I got engaged, I know I was going to have to go through it again, but still wasn't looking forward to it. Especially considering who my church assigns to do it - a seventy something year old woman who has personally been a part of my life for almost 25 years. It's one thing sharing stuff with a stranger, but this woman is almost like a grandmother to me. There are just things about me that I don't want her to know. Luckily for me, I wasn't subjected to that.

At my urging about a year ago, my church reinstituted their marriage ministry and revamped their pre-marriage counseling program. Instead of the minister I mentioned in the last paragraph doing it, counseling would now be done by the marriage ministry. In our case, it was two couples who have a combined 52 years of marriage experience. Counseling was supposed to be 10 hours. . . and it was. I just didn't know it was going to be done in only 2 sessions. The first session took place in August. An intimate dinner for 6 at the home of one of the couples. The second session took place Monday night. A three hour wrap-up session. Won't go into details of the session, but there were four things that were stressed in those sessions - communication, finances, intimacy and relationships (not relationships with you and your partner, but moreso your relationship with your partners family, your partners relationship with your family and your relationships with your friends and their respect for your marriage)

Overall, the sessions were good, but sometimes I think they are more like gripe sessions than working meetings. The couples shared personal experiences and were real with us. They told us no marriage is going to be perfect, but if we can handle those four situations in a positive manner we should be successful. From their lips to God's ears. The quest to 50 years, starts in 16 days.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Take Your Child To School

This morning, I woke up, showered, brushed my teeth, ran to the bus stop and headed to school. Only difference is this is 2011 and I was the parent and not the student. My (future) step-son's school participates in the New York State Fatherhood Initiative. This program encourages father's, brother's, uncles or any othe adults to take an active role in the education of young men. They have programs throughout the year and it starts with the "Take Your Dad To School" Day. Shortly after the start of tthe school year they set aside a day where father's are encouraged to drop their child off. Each father who does received a certificate, a brown bag breakfast and an envelope. My envelope contained 4 tickets to next Wednesday's Mets game. Talk about membership having its privileges.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Somebody, Anybody, Everybody Sing!!!!!

"What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ear and I'll sing you a song. And I'll try not to sing out of key." - Joe Cocker - "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Friday night, I went and did something that I don't get to do as often as I'd like . . . no, not that . . . I'm talking about karaoke. Those who know me would probably be surprised that I like something like karaoke, but I guess we all have things about us that others don't understand. It started with some of the usual karaoke classics, "Proud Mary", "We Are Family" and "Ain't No Stopping Us Now". Then one of my boys went and did "Da Butt". From there, it was on. The hits just kept on coming. Personally, I did "Children's Story", "La-Di Da-Di" and Method Man's part of "I'll Be There For You" while this cutie blazed her way through Mary J. Blige's part. In all it was a good night and definitely the best part of my weekend.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Melodiess From Heaven - Woe Is Me

You cannot get through life untouched. At some point in life we are all destined to go through something. Regardless of the size and frequency of the trouble we encounter, it happens and we have to deal with it. Problem is, most of us don't make the most of it while it is here.

Think back to a time you had to deal with something; may it be a the loss of a job a breakup or something else, our natural instinct is to find out why whatever happened happened to you. i will be the first to say I am guilty of that. We have our pity and waste time dwelling on what happened. To those of us who believe in God, we still manage to question Him instead of acknowledging that whatever happens iss a part of God's plan. Instead of questioning, we should try to embrace the situation and learn from it. Find out what the purpose of your pain is and grow from it. Turn your negative into a positive and be better because of the experience. All the stuff that Job went through and he never lost his faith. If he can do it, we can do it because none of us are going through anything as bad as what Job went through (I hope).

Everything happens for a reason, but how we deal with it defines who we are. We can let our lives get the best of us or we can get the best of our lives. The choice is ours. We can swim in our tears or rise above our circumstances.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Wedding Countdown - 3 Weeks Left

This has truly been the roughest week so far. So much has happened that it doesn't make sense to even go into detail. Just check this out:

1. Brother of the Bride 3 says he isnt coming to the wedding because he has nothinng to wear.

2. Brother of the Bride 2 says he isnt coming because one of his ex's is coming with her husband and he feels her husband is going to start something.

3. Brother of the Bride 1 is still coming, but he will no longer be giving the bride away because he refuses to wear a black suit.

4. Went to the reception hall to give a final head count (185) and select the menu.

5. I finally went to get my ring only to find out that the one I want will take 6 weeks to customize instead of the 2 I was told in July.

6. The maid of honor is going to provide us with transportation.

7. The dates for the bachelor parties have been set.

Other than that, it was a very quiet week. Let's see what the next 20 days bring.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Melodies From Heaven: Animal Instincts

I am far from a fan of the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet or National Geographic, but even I know that there is a lot to learn from watching animals. Have you ever watched a flock, a heard or a pride in action? Generally, they are loosely bunched together. That is, until they feel threatened. Once they feel threatened or are attacted they tighten up their formation. They bunch tightly together to in order to protect they children and defend themselves. If animals have this instinct you would think that t would be easy for humans to do the same thing. As yourseelf this question; "the last time I had a problem, did my friends come closer to me? Did they protect me? Did they help me out? Or did they stray further away from tthey rest of the group? You can tell a lot about the people in your life by running them through that test. Use your own animal instincts to find out who your true friends are. You'll thank me for it later and more importantly, you'll thank yourself.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Better Late Than Never

My relationship with my father definitely doesn't scream Cliff & Theo Huxtable. I cannot even say that the good moments outweigh the bad moments. In 33 plus years, I dont have any fond memories of my father. My childhood memories include walking in on my parents having sex, him visiting while he was drunk and giving me an occasional haircut among other things. Nothing to write home about. No birds and bees talk, no teaching me about sports, and he hasnt been to ANY of my graduation ceremonies. Besides teaching me how to tie a necktie, I have nothing. Funny thing is that with all that, for the first 16 years of my life all I wanted was for my parents to get together. For the last 17 years, I've been thankful that they didn't.

With all that being said, during his last visit to my mom he told me he wanted us to take a ride. I was open to it, but definitely had no expectations because his track record didn't make me think it would actually happen. So, imagine my surprise when he showed up yesterday (even if it was 3 hours later than he said). As we were in the car heading nowhere in particular, he just began to talk. The more he talked, the more difficult it came to hold back tears. I was hearing things I had wanted to hear for years. He even apologized for being "selfish" and keeping me a secret from his other children including not letting me know I had another brother until a week before he died. He went on about a few other things and said that he hopes its not too late for us to have a relationship.

The ride only lasted 90 minutes, and doesnt make up for the last 33 years, but I will say that I am more receptive to more "rides" in the future. Definitely more than I would have been 10 years ago. What will come of it? Who knows. I will probably get some questions answered. We might even go to being more than cordial with one another. I am just thankful for that moment and prayerful that as we both gt older we can both continue to grow . . . maybe even together.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Countdown: 5 Weeks Left

At this point in the game you'd think we would be in cruise control. Either thaat, or I am just being naive. Another week done and another piece of drama. This week, the parents of the flower girls broke up (continuing the on-again, off-again relationship they have had for the last 20 years). Normally, this wouldn't have anythhing to do with us, but this time its different. Not only did they break up, but the mother said that HER kids arent going to be in the wedding and they (her and her daughters) wont be coming to the wedding. Not to be outdone, the father (the brides brother) said he wasnt coming either. That led to another one of the brides brother's said that he is not coming if his brother isnt coming. . . if it ain't one thing its another.