Thursday, June 28, 2012

Green Bay, Awesome Day!

During the course of getting to know each other, Clark has talked a lot (and very fondly) of his friends from college. He has told me endless stories of the crazy things they did back then and about what totally awesome people they all are. This past weekend, I got the opportunity to meet the majority them at a wedding in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

During the five hour drive to Green Bay, we had ample time to go over who each person is, who they are married to and a general idea of what their personalities are like. He also informed me that they all have a very "special" relationship with each other.

"Special....huh." I pondered this momentarily. "Special could mean practically anything. Define 'special'."

"Let's just say that there are no boundaries. They don't exist. This will likely include you, so be prepared." He cryptically replied.

"Like physically?" I inquired.

"Pretty much, yes. But generally speaking as well." He said. "You will see what I mean."

"OK," I said bravely, "Bring it on."

We arrived at the church right on time for the ceremony. We were a couple of the last people seated and luckily found a spot in the row right in front of all of his friends. As we slid into our seats, Clark briefly introduced me to everyone. They all gave me with the warmest, most genuine smiles and handshakes. The guy right behind me; who I will call "Ted" because he reminds me of a perfect teddy bear, rolled his eyes at my handshake offer and said "Pfft, forget that. Come on, bring it in for a hug."

He proceeded to wrap me in what can only be described as an epic embrace. He squeezed me with proper tension, firm but not too intense. Then he began to rock me. Yes, rock me - back and forth several times. After pausing to exhale a giant sigh, he gave me one final squeeze and then released me.

Half stunned/half amused, I let out a soft giggle. "So, this is what Clark was talking about..." I thought to myself. This definitely made the top five of my "Most Memorable First Meetings" list. The rest of group also started laughing and Ted introduced me to his adorable, super sweet wife who I knew I was going to like, straight away.

Music indicating the start of the ceremony began to play and as we turned our attention to the center isle, Clark leaned over and whispered, "While Ted was hugging you, he was totally rubbing my butt cheek."

I choked back hysterical laughter and quickly realized I would likely fit right in with this crew. The ceremony was lovely a Catholic wedding with all of the traditional standing/sitting/kneeling movement. This only provided further opportunities for a wet-willy and several other boundary-less happenings - mostly directed at Clark, thank goodness. 

After the ceremony, I got the chance to talk to everyone more in depth. I learned more about their lives and they shared stories and pictures of their kids. It was so much fun listening to them all catch up and reminisce about their college days, which sounded like 24/7 shenanigans. I heard stories of drunken singing while wearing WWII military helmets. Lots of tales of indecent urination, lack of clothing and physical abuse (which translates to "man-intimacy" in guy-speak). 

I also learned that, to this day, if the right level of alcohol intake is reached, Ted still begins speaking with a Scottish accent. I discovered that one of the guys; who I will call "Dirk," has an uncontrollable Tourettes-like habit of yelling profanities and sexually inappropriate statements during phone calls - which once happened to cause Clark's sexuality to be called into question by his folks when one of their phone calls was accidentally overheard.

The fun continued all throughout the reception. At one point, we were sitting outside and Ted asked us about our wedding. "Are you guys going to do that thing where you save the top of your wedding cake so that a year later you can take a bite and say 'Yep, this tastes like ass' and then feed it to the dog?"

Before I had the chance to respond, Dirk approached us. "Hey, Shike! (a nickname they all call Clark) Let me see that." He said, pointing to the cigar in Clark's hand.

"I still need to bite off the end or something, I don't have a cutter..."  Clark hesitated.

"Here, let me see it." Seeing Clark's hesitation, he added, "I won't do anything to it, I promise."

Clark reluctantly handed the cigar over and Dirk promptly (and savagely) ripped the end of it off with his teeth, leaving tobacco shreds hanging haphazardly out of it.

"What the hell, man!" Clark exclaimed.

"What is the first rule?" Dirk asked.

"Never give anything to Dirk." Clark droned.

"That is right. I thought you would have learned that lesson by now." Dirk scolded as he handed Clark back his mangled Cigar.

It was situation after situation like this. Nonstop. I adored every single moment of it.

Most of the guys' wives were part of the group during college as well. They were all incredibly welcoming and all around awesome. We chatted it up, danced together and had a blast getting to know each other. They invited me to join them in a girls Goldschlager shot and then we all piled into the photo booth for a fun group picture:

As much as I enjoyed the laughter and fun of the night, I have to say that one of the things that stuck out most was just how much these guys all care about each other. As much shit as they give each other, they have an equal amount of good things to say about each other. They came from miles around to be there for their friend's wedding. They are all incredibly genuine, incredibly warm people and I couldn't help but really, really like every single one of them.

What a totally great weekend. I danced my ass off. In fact, I shook so much booty that I had a blister the next day. I got to see a new, different side of Clark and meet some of the most important people in his life. I got to laugh more than I have in a long time. Both Clark and I remarked at how much our faces hurt from laughing so much. We drove though the beautiful Wisconsin countryside and enjoyed each other's company during our drive. It was a wonderful weekend that I won't soon forget. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Enema Songs

Not long after hearing one of my Tear Enema Songs on Pandora, I hear a song that, without fail, ALWAYS makes me happy. The same sequence of events unfolded in my head as they did in my previous Tear Enema Songs post. Clark's Happy Enema Song is "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" by John Denver because it reminds him of his favorite childhood memories of summer camp. I personally find that precious as hell. So, here is the list I go to when I need to lift my spirits and "get the happiness flowing!"

Once again, I am curious: What are your Happy Enema Songs? What tunes do you turn to when you want to smile?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tear Enema Songs

Whenever there is heavy shit going on in my life, I sometimes have a hard time crying. I know I need to cry and even want to, but somehow I can't. It is totally weird - it as if the tears get lodged in my throat like some kind of emotional constipation. I have found that one surefire remedy for this issue is listening to songs I find sad or touching. Those songs are like an enema for my tears.

I was thinking about this today when I was listening to Pandora and one my Tear Enema songs came on. I got to thinking about other songs that, without fail, make me cry. I decided to compile a list that I can go to when ever I need to "get things moving" in the emotion department. My list is pretty long and I not sure what that says about me. In any case, here it is:

This lead to me ask Clark if there are any songs like that for him. He said that his song is "Both Sides Now" by Joni Mitchel. Interesting! Now I am curious about the rest of the world. What songs can help give you a good cry? Please leave your thoughts and your own Tear Enema Songs in the comment section because I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Time To Remember

Simon didn't need to die near Memorial Day to be remembered. If you knew him, you can attest to the fact that he is pretty much impossible to forget. May 25th was the one year anniversary of Simon's death. I knew that the day was coming, I had been anticipating it for over a month. I was a mixed bag of emotion but one thing I really wanted to do was figure out a special and personal way to honor him on that day. I tried to think of something really great but I just wasn't satisfied with anything I came up with.

In any case, I knew that it would be a tough weekend and I thought the best thing I could do for myself would be to get out of town to complete peace and solitude. I expressed this to Clark and he suggested we spend the weekend up north at his family's getaway house on a large plot of farmland they rent out to area farmers. The plan was set and when the day arrived, we packed up our things and Luke (our doggie) and began our trek north.

The drive takes us literally past my dad's house, so we met up with him and I was finally able to give him his birthday gift. After a really enjoyable, tasty lunch (I highly recommend the new brisket burger at Famous Dave's - Ah. Mazing.) we were back on our way again.

Approximately thirty minutes further into our drive, we made an impromptu stop at an RV dealership. We had an absolute blast exploring the amazing showroom and wandering around all the beautiful new travel trailers. We picked out our favorite ones and day dreamed about drinking coffee in the morning while taking in the amazing view of where we would park our trailer. It was so carefree and almost youthful in its spontaneity and fun.

Throughout our ride, Clark and I talked a lot about Simon. He listened to my random memories and little stories. He held my hand during the difficult moments and really understood my deep, pressing desire to simply talk to Simon. To just hug him, see his face and catch up on each others lives. He asked questions about Simon and laughed when I described his crazy sense of humor.

We finally arrived and after tending to Luke's need to play/pick up every log he could find, we took a short nap and settled in by a fire we made outside. It was around 8:30pm and I think Clark and I were feeling the same thing: a little homesick. He was the first one to bring it up and I was relieved to know we were on the same page. We had a chuckle over what losers we are for coming all this way and then turning right around to go home.  We decided it would be a good idea to help the pup release a bunch of energy before heading back home. Clark fired up the 4-wheeler and began riding it full speed around the yard. Naturally, Luke took off like a bullet after him. As I watched him run, looking so happy and free, it hit me. I remembered the dreams Simon would often wake from. He would describe the amazing feeling of running for what seemed like forever. Running far and fast without getting tired or out of breath. They were his favorite dreams because he couldn't run in his waking life due to his heart condition. He said these dreams made him feel so alive and free.

Suddenly, I got the urge to run. I stood up from my lawn chair and took off after Clark and Luke. I ran fast and hard. I felt the fresh spring wind in my face and blowing through my hair. I breathed deep and ran. I ran for Simon and I did it with my whole body and my whole heart. I imagined him running, alive and free.

By the time I stopped, my legs were all tingly-wobbly feeling and I was just short of passing out (and if you know me personally, you can attest to the fact that I NEVER run because it is the devil). My cheeks and lips were wet with tears but I felt so alive and bright inside. The feeling just stamped itself forever into my memory. I will forever be able to recall the feeling I had running and honoring Simon in that simple but special way.

It took a few unexpected turns but ended up being a wonderful day. I got to spend time with my dad and give him a special gift I was working on for him. I got to have fun exploring the RV dealership and daydreaming with Clark. I got to get away but then come back to my home and kitties. I got to talk about Simon, miss him, cry about him and most of all remember him. I can think of no better way to have spent this day.