Friday, November 7, 2008

Goin' to the chapel and we're gonna get married

Some of you may have heard that I am getting married, in fact, you might be here because you wanted to hear the whole story. I haven't updated the blog in a bit because I have been crazy busy - sorry about that.

I'm going to start way back a year ago, before I moved to Utah. For those of you who are not LDS here's a quick piece of information you should know: Memebers of the LDS church can get what is called a Patriarchal Blessing. There is one priesthood holder per stake called as a Patriarch, and his calling is to give blessings. You can only get one, and it ranges from a paragraph to about 3 pages. Two days after my friend John Manzi got married I got my Patriarchal Blessing. Although I had read it many times after getting it, the part that got me to Utah didn't stand out till quite a while later. I was at a fireside in CT being given by the Patriarch of that stake. he said that everyone should go home and read their blessings and that often you see things that didn't stand out to you before. I followed this counsel and it was totally true. There was a paragraph that mentioned that I should be discerning of where I live, that it should be in the center of education, and that it should be some place where the church is very strong. It also said that this would have a lot to do with me finding a wife. At that point I was pretty seriously considering moving to Utah, which I had always said I would never do. The job market for tech jobs in MA was pretty weak, and I was having some pay issues where I was working. I really didn't want to leave my job, but I needed to get paid more badly. On Aug 10th I packed everything that would fit in my car and drove to Utah. I arrived on the 15th (and the trip is a whole other story).

When I arrived in Utah I went to a house owned by a dude named Greg Brooks whom my friend Kajsa had directed me to so that I could rent a room. There were a few rooms to pick from and I chose one on the main floor at the end of the hallway. After I moved in and got to know the roommates I was informaed that I had chosen the marriage room. It is so named because everyone who moves into that room gets married. The first time I saw Esther was in the kitchen. She was cleanign the fridge, which is something that I saw her doing often over the next few months. I learned of her identity from my roommate Mark and also learned that she was dating Dan, my other roommate. She was cute, had reddish hair, and was very bubbly. She talked about country dancing a lot and tried to get me to go several times, but I hate country music (and I told her that). Esther got lsik near the end of September, here is a pic of her before that (with Dan - her ex): I know, not a very flatterring picture. She looks much better now! Not long after that was General Conference. As is tradition I cooked a enormous breakfast for lots of people. Esther, was there, as well as lots of my friends. Some of my friends told me that they noticed whenever Esther was around me that she lit up. They tried to convince me to go after her, but I always told them that I would not as long as she was dating Dan. We played games a lot, especially game nights on Sundays. Here's a shot of her whooping me at Jenga: Whenever we played games with teams she chose to be on my team. I think that was mostly due to the fact that her and Dan disagreed a lot. When they did he would go sit on the couch and she would go outside to cool off. There were a few times that she sat down to talk to me about it and just broke down crying. When Halloween rolled around there were lots of halloween parties to go to, so Esther got us the hookup and I went with her and Ashley as charaters from The Wizard of Oz to my friend Ben's ward party. I went with her to her parent's house to pick up games shortly after that. We stopped by a park to play for a bit (it was at night, so the place was pretty empty) and when we left there I taught her how to drive stick. I think that was the first time I met her mom. There were a whole bunch of times that I made dinner for Esther and Dan. Dan would either sit at the table and read (such as manuals for his camera) or go sit on the couch and eat with his laptop. This left me to sit and eat with Esther. I certainly didn't have any objections to that. Some time in October I started telling Esther about AWE. We began planning a trip accross the US to go to AWE and visit her sister. Much to my dismay the date of her wedding ended up being set for the weekend following AWE, so she decided she could not go. I had to work on New Year's Eve, but right after that Esther invited me to go tubing with Soldier's Hollow with her whole family (and Dan). Esther broke it off with Dan in January and I helped her move to a new place along with some other dudes. There was at least one time that I went hiking with her and Dan (and she spent the whole time talking to me) but for the most part she dissappeared soon after they called off the wedding. I still hung out with Dan a lot. We were pretty good friends.

In August Esther resurfaced. I got a call from her asking me to go to a play at the Hale Center Theater right then. I already had plans that I could not get out of. I told her that i really wanted to go, but that there was no way that I could. Soon after that i got a call saying that she had found the house of her dreams and that she was probably going to buy it. She flipped flopped on that for a bit and i got a few calls from her freaking out, not knowing what to do. She decided to buy the house finally. I told her that when she closed on the house I would help her move if she wanted. She called after some time telling me when the closing would be and asked if I would still help her move, and so I did. I showed up at her apartment and started loading stuff onto her dad's trailer. It was all packed tight and organized. I told her to leave some stuff behind such as empty boxes, freezer burned food, and stuff from the fridge that was months out of date. Her mom was there to witness this craziness and thought it was fantastic. The trailer was driven to her new house and I helped two of her other friends unload it. Before I left she told me that she feared for the food in my house, that it might get eaten by my roommates, as it sometimes does. She said that I could (and should) bring my food over and keep it in the fridge. She told me that i could use the kitchen, and even park in the garage. Keep in mind that at this point she still had no interest in me beyond being my friend. So, I brought stuff over. First food, then kitchen tools, then a stereo! You can't really cook without good tools and some good music. I don't have pics of any of this up yet because my computer died somewhere along this time, and it still has not fully recovered as of this writing. Back to the story... I think she started to figure it all out on October 11th. On October 12th she suggested we get married. On October 15th we had our first kiss. I know, crazy backwards, but it works. The details of this are best told by her, so I strongly suggest that if you're interested you hear her side, cause it is better than mine.

There will be a reception in Utah on December 6th at 715 S Utah Ave at 5:30pm. Food will be served till 8pm and then dancing will go until everyone goes home! We will be sealed in the Timpanogos Temple at 10am on December 10th. There will be a reception in MA on May 23th, the location is to be determined.

As promised, here is Esther's side of the story. Much more detailed. Hope you all enjoy it...

Wednesday, Sept 3rd Love at first sight when I found my house. Proposed that same night.

Friday, Sept 5th Went under contract. Next two weeks were crazy. Heavenly Father guided everything. My sister Abby was amazing and encouraging in pulling me through. I was just like a ditzy bride and was so happy my dream house, everything I had hoped for when I was engaged previously I felt about my house! Told Mom I knew that Heavenly Father was letting me know how it would be when I found my husband.

Week of Sept 8th- Texted everyone on my phone list (including Greg, but not Dan) that I was getting married to my dream house. Greg responded that he could help me move. So many guys had been calling me and continued to call me all month, but I didn’t want them to help me move. Then they would know where I lived and I would feel obligated to “go out” with them and did NOT want them to just “stop” by while I lived by myself. I decided that I would “allow” Greg and my friend Jamal to help because I didn’t feel obligated to “go out” with them and I wouldn’t mind them visiting me at the new house for games, dinners, etc.

Friday, Sept 26th –Softball game. He had been planning a camping trip to Zion’s, then everyone bailed on him; he was sooooooo sad. I felt bad and considered going with him, but didn’t want to go on camping trip with him alone in case it would become anything romantic, so I prayed that I would not have to go and not have to let him down. Storm forecast, he went to my softball game instead, we won! Went to his house and watched a show, didn’t enjoy it. Hate this house and didn’t want anyone to see me there or to think there was anything between us. Two years I had been visiting that house with Dan and now Greg?! I am done with it; I have a completely new life now and never ever ever have to go back!

Monday, Sept 29th Rock climbing in Sandy when Leah didn’t need help moving her washer/drier, lectured him about taking a real date. I have a pass to the Quarry and he PAID for me to go to Momentum. He should be taking his date or his wife! Had a terrible time. Stopped at the horrid house. Told him I would never never never EVER enter his house ever again. He had the usual food and other stuff missing/eaten by his roommates. I told him I had no sympathy, that he needed to find a wife and stop cooking and buying things for his roommates to mooch off of. What was it with the guys I was hanging out with lately! Dan gave everything away and Jamal had just bought steak for all his roommates and cleaned up after them all the time! What is it with nice guys enabling moochers?! Stop it! Then they would probably get hungry and get themselves married too. I was always so frustrated cleaning that house after so many messy lazy bachelors! I hate that house! It is disgusting! Get me out of it!
I didn’t tell any of the guys I had been hanging out with where I was moving too, but I had told Jamal he could hang out at my house and park in the garage when he came to visit. So I told Greg he could move his kitchen to my house and cook and I wouldn’t eat his food or use his stuff, just as long as his roommates didn’t get it. I offered the garage for his car when he came, I could even push the button for my cool garage door opener. We could have game nights at my house and I would never ever EVER go to this awful house ever again and he would meet girls and feed THEM and get a wife from it!
When I left I wouldn’t let him hug me. I don’t let people hug me-I feel vulnerable and I cry. He insisted he hugs everyone (Greg’s friends can attest) and I insisted I don’t let people hug me (My friends can attest). I think he still won, but I made it very uncomfortable for him.

Monday, Sept 29th Lender fell through. Abby worked out another option. Miracles!
Tuesday, Sept 30 Closed on my house. Crazy!!

Wednesday, Oct 1st Moved in to my dream house! I had been packing for two weeks and considered myself very organized and hoped I would not impose too much on whoever ended up helping me. (I absolutely detest moving people’s junk and bags and helping them pack). My boxes carefully packed according to subject, weight, and fragility, and even which room it went to.
I didn’t want to ask the other guys to help me move in because I would feel obligated to go on a date with them and I didn’t want them to stop by to visit me at my new house. But I “allowed” my guy friends Jamal, Enoch and Greg to help because I didn’t feel that sort of obligation and I wouldn’t mind if they knew where I lived. Greg loaded the trailer himself and did so well at it! But he was so particular and bossy about the whole thing! I was so mad and told him so, many times. He jabbed me about all my stuff and silly boxes and food that was out of date. Sometimes I could see his eyes were laughing and that he was enjoying himself. I was already feeling helpless not being able to move all by myself and was defensive, embarrassed, and very very frustrated! I told Enoch I was only grateful for this experience so he could witness how NOT to treat a girl.
When Mom and Abby showed up, everything was loaded already. It was truly amazing! They were impressed how Greg packed the trailer and wouldn’t let anyone else load it. They also noticed how he could take me on and not back down. Greg invited me to a concert in Provo that night, but I had to drive Enoch home and was hungry, tired, sweaty, and very very grumpy. I easily declined.
He was over later that week and insisted I needed a television and I refused. He argued that I had to have a projector in the green room and I told him I would never have it, then he insisted he was bringing one and a sound system if he was going to visit. I told him I couldn’t pay for it and I would not be a mooch.

Saturday, Oct 4th General Conference, I was grumpy that day and had dropped off some of his food from my fridge for his usual Conference Breakfast and left without saying “hi” or “bye.” He called after I had left and mentioned that was probably the rudest thing anyone had done to him in a really long time. I knew I had been a jerk and after talking to him, I realized he had always been kind to me and that I had been a total snot. Later we went looking at a couch listed on Craig’s List for my house, didn’t get it. Today is the first day I looked at Greg and realized he was a human being and my friend. Made dinner together; he cooked, I washed dishes and gushed about my house and how happy I was. It was like I was on a honeymoon with my house!

Sunday, Oct 5th Watched conference at Greg’s house with his roommates and friends, washed dishes and more dishes (yes, the same horrid house). We picked the grapes for fun that grow in abundance outside his house. We went to visit my family after. They knew him from stories with Dan, going tubing at Soldier Hollow for New Year’s, moving me twice. Didn’t have a good time today, though. When I am up he is down and visa versa/ opposites, told him in the car I didn’t know what I would do about it, but I didn’t like it at all.

Week of Oct 6th, Monday, went to Costco together for groceries. Had a blast! Don’t know what changed but I was relaxed and he smiled so much! Rainbows burst into hundreds of skittles when he laughs! Just wanted to be near him all the time and lots of hugs by this point, but now he was so stand off-ish, especially when he was cooking in the kitchen or driving. He would actually tell me to move away or stay out of the kitchen! My own kitchen! I would wash dishes and then had to get out of his way; but I couldn’t be happy to sit and watch him from afar, so I would disappear and start unpacking boxes in another room…and be sad. I figured we were really just going to stay friends and decided to be happy with that. Meanwhile, Greg was bringing Costco to the house, cooking all our meals, buying a garbage can and other household necessities, installing a sound system, juicing grapes all day, and driving all over town to research refrigerators. I gave him the code to the garage so he could install the sound system and I told myself I would change the code as soon as possible. I just kept washing dishes and gushing about my wonderful house. Linda at work started hearing about Greg in all my adventures with my house and said “this Greg seems really. . .helpful.” I simply replied “yes.”

Thursday Oct 9- Greg was at my parents’ house juicing grapes all day and into the evening. Mom enjoyed it and the neighbor kids would come over and help, get bored and leave, then come back and get in the way again. I pulled together some leftovers and made him a couple sloppy joes and plenty of milk to drink. He was so happy.

Oct 10- Will (from my new ward, a really nice guy, not bad looking, and one of two people I had met in my neighborhood) came over to visit and invite me to the ward Halloween Skating activity that night. I had opened the garage since Greg was on his way and Will had parked in Greg’s way. Greg was a bit annoyed when he pulled up and stayed in the car, then roared off until Will left! What was wrong with him? Made dinner together, Greg cooked food, I did dishes, and we blasted his music. I unpacked my chimes that I have had packed up for almost 10 years, waiting for a home to hang them.

Oct 11- Did laundry all morning, cleaned my wonderful house. Wanted to unpack but I knew I had unnecessary junk that I couldn’t get myself to chuck. I decided I would throw it away if Greg told me to. Really enjoyed last night, thought about how he wasn’t impressed with Will and was actually rude about it. I thought about the hilarity of inviting a date over to the house and Greg walking in from the garage over to the fridge and taking food out of it, which was all his, and eating it. He was putting so much into my house and was here all the time. A bit of concern came to my mind that I might be entangling myself with someone that I didn’t have a future with. What would I do if I started dating someone else? Wait, I didn’t want Greg to go away, my house didn’t feel the same when he wasn’t there. . . Wait. . . then I asked my house out loud (I said “good morning” and “good night” to my house every day) “Does he know something I don’t?” I had a suspicion but couldn’t let myself believe it. But I knew I liked being with him, and that my house liked him.
The lady with the couch texted me back (week later) and I got her down another $100, called Greg if he thought I should get it. He borrowed Trevor’s truck and we picked it up. Greg didn’t like the chimes very much and suggested a different kind that he had in mind. Went to Home Depot and bought the fridge, based on Greg’s amazing and time consuming research. He told them he would be at the house when it was delivered. I got butterflies thinking about Greg holding down the fort when I came home.
That evening, made dinner, did dishes, listened to music as usual, but there was a bit more flirting and chemistry in the air. While he put a garbage liner (that he bought) in the trash can (that he bought) and finished up kitchen stuff, changed the music, etc., I sat on the new comfy cozy couch and was overwhelmed with happiness! I kept going on about how happy I was and that I never had a thought about my life before this house. Everything was so different now and Greg was so different. . . A light went on in my brain, I lost track of what I was saying as I realized. . . I bought this house for Greg!!
He came over to sit on the couch by me, close, and he had a kind look in his eye when he agreed I looked very happy. The light in my brain was shining full wattage by now and I told him my house didn’t know me without him. We sat on the new comfy couch, so cozy, so happy. He moved me closer to him and put his arms around me. I so wanted him to say something because I was always talking and he was so quiet! I kept asking him in between my monologue what he was thinking about and he would talk about some idea he had for the kitchen, or the yard, or the grape juice, etc. So cute! Eventually I asked him just like I ask everyone, “Where would you like to end up living?” He said “New England for sure.” I knew about his reasons for coming to Utah and said he still had to find a wife and he responded that he would give himself 6 years (It turns out Greg had made a bet a couple years ago with Sister Beynon and he had six years left). My thoughts trailed off about how the Lord has other plans for us and we never know what or where we will be. I came back to reality when Greg asked “Is that OK with you?” I said “sure”, and he looked amazed and asked “really?” I told him about what I had learned from the Lord, especially getting this house and so fast.

Sunday Oct 12 Greg texted between church meetings, something romantic about picking something up at Trevor’s house. Butterflies! I took down the chimes when I got home. Dinner at Mom and Dad’s, dishes, games with Heather Capson. We sat close on the couch. He told me I didn’t have to take down the chimes and I told him it was ok as long as my house got some soon. He thanked me for letting him listen to his music. I asked him what he would like to change about the house and he said he loved this house from the first time he stepped into it.(I argued that he had put stress on my honeymoon these past weeks) We talked about his projects in the house and I asked him what he would do with the other sound system. He started to describe running cords through the kitchen cupboards and putting the speakers in the space near the ceiling. Ding! Ding! Ding! The lights were all on in my head this time. As he hugged me close, I told him my house loved him, my garage loved his car, and if he was putting so much into this house, he would have to stay. With the kindest eyes that were a little moist he said in a voice just as kind “That was my plan.” I turned to mush! We hadn’t even held hands at this point, but we sure had a wonderful hug!
Then I had a thought and asked him suspiciously, “How long have you known?!” And he told me about his Bishop asking him about how Dan was doing, since he was always with me at my ward meetings. Greg told him that we had just gotten engaged (A year ago Oct 12th I flew out for a 28 hour visit to see Dan in Arkansas). Straight faced the Bishop bluntly said “I thought she was going to marry you.” Greg responded “So did I.” I couldn’t believe he had known this for a year! To the day! I apologized that he had suffered so much hanging out with us, I had been so rude, so emotional, so crazy. I had always hoped my future spouse could watch me for a long time and see me in all my glorious insanity when I didn’t know I was on camera. I told Greg “you know everything I need you to know.”
He asked me where I would like to get married and I told him I didn’t mind, as long as it was a temple. Boston was his first choice and I didn’t mind that either. He was astounded! He asked me when I would like to get married and I told him a couple months ago I had been worried about finding a guy who would get to know me but I really didn’t want to spend almost 2 years training him like last time. A feeling had come to me that I would be married while I was still 28 years old. He asked me when my birthday was, May 10th, and he said that should be ok. Then I sheepishly told him the rest of the feeling I had gotten was that it would be in the year 2008. His eyes got really big.
I didn’t want to argue with the valid concerns of guys who are think about money and providing for a family, etc. but I knew there was a reason I got this house so quickly, that he had known me for a year, and I knew my family loved him, and I would not be the one to hold up the Lord’s blessings. Greg had a hard time believing my family liked him and I told him to make sure he attended the applesauce event with my family and that would be enough for him to see my family how they truly are and for Mom and Dad, especially, to see him, although I knew they were already sold on Greg. I reminded him that my prayers work better and faster than his (it took a year for his to work and we joke that if you need something, just get on Esther’s prayer list) and that all I do is obey the commandments (plus the extra credit ones) and pray that things work out by the Lord’s will. I have learned Heavenly Father tends to work fast sometimes and I have strong belt loops from flying by the seat of my pants and that Greg better get prepared because it was going to be sooner than he thought.

Oct 14, Tuesday Called Mom and asked her what she thought about Greg. She said he was nice and asked why I asked. I told her he was important. She paid more attention and asked for clarification and I told her he was more important than any other boy, actually the most important. She kept pushing me for an answer until I finally said we were getting married and that I was incredibly happy and it was just as I had hoped it would feel like and Heavenly Father had let me practice getting married to my house. Then she told me that the first Sunday I brought Greg over, they began joking about how long it would take me “playing house” with Greg until I figured it out. While going to buy bread for sandwiches, Greg called his Mom and told her the news. What a shock for them out in Massachusetts! He emailed her pictures of us during the past year. He even remembered that he had been the one who helped me with my wedding registry last time.

Oct 15 We were preparing dinner, as usual, and Greg was pouring himself a tall glass of milk, as usual. He asked if I wanted a drink of milk too and I walked past him to get a glass and he pulled me into a big hug and kissed me!

Oct 16 Greg updated our status on Facebook. At work, Linda asked me what I was doing for fun this weekend and I said “Planning a wedding.” Linda asked “Whose?” and I simply replied “Mine.”

Oct 18 paper route at 4 am for Trevor and Miranda, applesauce all day with the family and the young married ward Dad is a high councilman to. Greg was such a trooper! Mom gave him pointers about me and Dad showed him all of his amazing pots and pans and other cooking gear. That evening and into the wee hours of the morning, Greg slaved away to make dinner for my family (he had promised Jenny last week he would make lasagna), he made two cheesecakes, 3 trays of lasagna, and a huge pot of chicken soup, from which he earned a terrible steam burn on his wrist.

Oct 19 He hurt so bad and wanted to go to the hospital. I was deliriously tired and when he woke me up to ask what to do, all I could say was to put ice on it, which is not what you are supposed to do, but in his agony, he applied it anyway for relief. We went ahead and started the paper route 2:30 am. It was so fun and I loved running from house to house, the squealing breaks of my car and Greg so frustrated, but I loved him so much and told him so. All he could do was shake his head in disbelief and mutter things to my car. Went to Church at Greg’s ward and they recognized me. The Bishop told me he had known all along, When asked to introduce myself, I told the Relief Society sisters I was back, but as someone else’s fiancĂ©. Dinner with family was a huge success! Jenny and Sara were anxious to talk about wedding plans and kept pushing Greg to have the “talk” with Dad. Finally, with Mom and I there to get things rolling, Greg asked Dad’s permission (I hope Greg put that story in his blog). Dad told us that a couple weeks ago, when he started hearing stories about Greg, he had asked Mom what was going on with this nice guy Greg, he was oh so nice and so good for Esther, she was just trying to keep her mouth shut for fear it would break something. Dad agreed not to wait too long. “Esther, you have been dating Greg for a year and were the only one who didn’t know it.”

Friday Oct 24 With the apples from Greg’s house, we chopped and canned applesauce til 4 am. I drove all over town looking for quart jars, ended up borrowing some. The house was perfect for it! Made a huge mess, I washed the huge pots in the bathtub and Greg managed the 6 burners. Ended up with 54 quarts of heavenly applesauce! Greg was so pleased, Dad was proud! Showing the downstairs apartment all month, every day to a ton of people. We cannot agree on any of them. Even before we got engaged, I had decided Greg and I needed to agree about the tenant for it to be right.

Monday Oct27 Bought and carved pumpkins with Trevor and Miranda

Wednesday Oct 29 Made beautiful grape jelly at Mom and Dad’s house from the juice of the grapes we picked during General Conference.

Friday Oct 31 Stressful day, Halloween, I did a little girl’s updo for her Cinderella costume, ran and bought a toaster oven off craigs list, people over, free wedding dress made just my size my style for 1994. Mom and Dad brought over book shelves and mattresses for Greg’s parents’ visit. Handed out candy. Stressful. Tired.

Saturday Nov 1 Drove up to Sundance with my sister Jenny and Greg’s friend Rebecca Bezzant, took engagement photos. Chilly, lots of fun.

Sunday Nov 2 Mom handed over the reception catering and planning and DJ’ing the reception to Greg. His wish that everyone said that could never be granted. . . was granted! Prayers work!

The title: Dixie Cups - Chapel of Love


Mark and Kim said...

That is a great story, even if it is the 2nd/3rd time I've heard it!

Katie said...

awe This is such a great story and it's only the first time I've heard it so I want updates regularly because I live the furthest away and I'm so very Happy for you! i wish i could be there! Have a good one!

Janelle said...

Congrats! I'm really excited for you. (And a note about the blog itself...I love that your post titles are song lyrics.)

Danny and Kate said...

Congratulations again! That really is super fantastic! Where are you registered?

JulieAnn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JulieAnn said...

You're right, she does tell it better! :-) I'm so happy for you both!

Rob said...

Very good story. Typical Greg, but this time the nice guy didn't finish last! Congratulations guys. I'm sure you 2 will be very happy.

Jenny said...

Hi, I'm an old, old, old friend of Esther's. I found your blog from the invitation at my parents house. I'm really sad that I can't be there, I live in AZ. I'm very excited about this news and you sound like a nice guy, making grape juice, and I also like milk a lot. Esther is awesome and I'd love to catch up, here's my blog and my e-mail is