Life Lately + Head Trauma

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

SO FREAKING TRUE. While we haven’t done anything monumental lately, we have had some really awesome weekends, and the more I forget to share, the faster the time seems to go.

Let’s start out by categorizing what’s been going on with our life lately!

Wedding Planning

I. AM. SO. EXCITED!!!! This is the stage where I’m the most comfortable being at when I’m planning anything. It’s the anticipatory, to-do lists, breathable, productive, I’m-going-to-conquer-the-world stage and I’m loving it.

Obviously, the beginning was ROUGH. Like, beyond rough. Like crying every day for a month rough. Once we set that date, it was a ticking time bomb strapped to my back. Looking back, it was a combination of everything in the world that overwhelms me, hitting me all at once.

  • Ginormous price tags? Check.
  • Guilt beyond belief at my parents paying? Check.
  • The idea of being married when I had never wanted that? Check.
  • Decisions that I never thought I would ever need to make and try to make them with someone who doesn’t like making decisions? Check.
  • Planning a major event from a different state for a reason that I never had wanted before? Check!

One of the main problems was that Timmy and I do not approach decision-making in the same way. In fact, we’re complete opposites. I’m a snap decision-maker. I don’t like to over-analyze anything and I just want to move on and get shit done. Timmy becomes paralyzed. He gets frustrated easily when it’s time to decide, and then he will just stonewall until he feels he’s had enough time (usually about 10,000 times longer than I’m okay with). This does not make for smooth decision making and it’s been an issue for a long time in our relationship in general.

But we sat down, hashed it out, and now we’re excellent. Timmy and I finally found a groove to wedding planning. I’ll do some research here and there and compile some ideas and send it to him, and then 2-3 weeks later, we’ll basically knock out like 3-5 decisions in one day. And I’ve had time to digest the fact that my parents WANT to do this for us and I can accept it now.

We have just under a year until we get married. This is what we’ve done so far:

  • wedding coordinator hired
  • date and time chosen
  • venue chosen
  • guest list almost complete
  • photographer chosen and engagement pictures printed
  • caterer, food options, baker, and design chosen
  • band chosen
  • alcohol package chosen
  • wedding website nearly complete
  • invitations printed
  • registries complete
  • save the dates designed
  • rehearsal dinner space booked
  • wedding dress and bridal party and outfits selected
  • bachelor/bachelorette party scheduled

I told you, I don’t mess around when it comes to planning. I want as much done now so that we can just pretty much coast up until the wedding. We have about 4 things on the docket that should be complete in the next few weeks, so as that to-do list gets done, I get happier and more and more excited to marry my partner.

Travels and Visits

The first weekend of June, I traveled to NY to celebrate my best friend Denise’s daughter’s baptism. Seeing as how I hadn’t met the little lady since she was inside her mom’s uterus, I thought it would be a great time to meet her and chill out with my besties. This trip, I didn’t even step inside Manhattan, which was a nice change of pace. It always feels like the city is trying to run me over when I visit because I try to fit so much into one weekend, and this time, we just stayed in the suburbs and enjoyed beautiful weather with family and friends.

Not going to lie, their apartment does not absorb sound well, so in addition to little Mary’s screams, I also was privy to the fighting Puerto Rican family below them, and good god, getting 4 hours of sleep is just not okay.

A few weekends later, my good friend from grad school, Alex, came down for a half week of relaxation and fun. This woman, god I love her. She’s amazing. Strong, driven, intelligent, and with a heart as big as the sun. I admire her in so many ways, and it’s always such a nice calming feeling to be around her. She pretty much came down to escape a little drama in her life in Atlanta, so we ate well, beached it, had a boat day with my old work colleague Leila and her husband, and just enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

Pride Weekend

It’s really really fun living in monumental moments. Timmy had made the trek to St. Pete a few weekends in a row, and so Pride weekend (the last weekend in June) was supposed to be my weekend in Orlando. But then the Supreme Court upheld marriage equality Friday morning, and because Timmy is the most amazing person ever, he decided to come to St. Pete to help me volunteer and experience what a major civil rights victory feels like.

This year, I’ve been trying to volunteer more around my community, and Pride felt like another perfect moment to help out. I volunteered earlier in the week for the Stonewall Reception and got to meet the mayor of St. Pete. We volunteered together at a concert with someone from Glee (no clue, but holy cow they could sing!), and then we made it out to the nighttime Pride parade on Saturday night. Of course, Timmy is the greatest flirter in the world (which I warned him about), so he won the bead war. Hey, it’s not my fault most of the floats were men and Timmy was practically throwing himself at them!

Slut.

But all in all, it was pretty much the perfect weekend, and I can’t wait for next year! :)

Destin and 4th of July

UGGGGHHHH, this trip was no bueno for me. It seems like every time I’ve been to Destin, it ends in E.R. visits (which is actually the case for Timmy. He and his friends really have never been able to finish a trip to Destin without visiting a medical professional). They actually still had my information on file from the last time, like 5 years ago, when I jumped in the water and stepped on some barnacles which tore the sole of my foot up.

This time, it started out great. Magda and Corey, who so generously donated the BOTE board for our “30 Years, 1 Wish” party, invited us to stay in their renovated, white, shiny new home. Their house is super gorgeous and seems to be the perfect party pad. I’m not a huge alcohol drinker, so I knew I would have to psych myself up to hang out with this crew who have livers of steel. Not that I went overboard, but I definitely had to pace myself to get through the day drinking part (which for those of you who know me well, is NOT a strength of mine).

Friday, they had a get-together at their house where people just drove their boats up or paddled up on their boards (which is the greatest way of life, let me tell you) and we all hung out in the sun by their pool. Saturday started out much like Friday. The sun burning our eyes out (they hadn’t put up drapes yet), children crying, that sort of thing. But we were heading out to Crab Island, so I was excited to have a really awesome day.

The only photo I got of the weekend.

The only photo I got of the weekend.

We made it out there, anchored the boat, played a frisbee game, met people, it was great! BOTE is constantly trying out new designs, and this weekend they were trying out a prototype for a wake surfing paddleboard. It’s smaller than a regular paddleboard, and way less stable. I tried it out a few times, was able to get the hang of it, and even tried (and failed) to do a little yoga on it.

But then, it all went downhill.

Here’s where my memory gets a little fuzzy. I remember talking with Timmy, facing their boat, and then all of the sudden I heard, “Look out!” and then BAM, the paddleboard came crashing down on the back of my head. If you’ve ever been hurt by something that’s also taken you by complete surprise, you understand the feeling. It was horrendous.

After that, I remember things in bits and pieces. I remember being brought on someone else’s boat to ice my head, I remember feeling really sleepy and just wanting to rest my eyes, and then I remember being at the E.R. with a brace around my neck, going in for a CT scan. I couldn’t remember who the president was at first (which made me cry because I was so scared).

Timmy was by my side the whole time. He was my rock, calming me down when I started to freak out, asking all the right questions, and helping me with insurance and confusing payments. In short, he was incredible.

The following week, I had some nausea, trouble sleeping, headaches, and general confusion. I had a lot of trouble getting words out, and am still kind of struggling here and there with speaking smoothly and quickly but in general, I’m completely back to normal. Timmy hated it but loved it because he eventually said, “I finally feel smarter than you!”

Slut.

After that, I felt good enough to have another St. Pete weekend (the last one in a while, since it’ll be my turn to visit Orlando multiple weekends in a row. It’s only fair). We had a really good time at the Rays game last Saturday night for an Emory alumni event, which I may or may not have outed him to everyone as a non-alum. As though his Auburn hat didn’t give him away. We had a delicious dinner at our new favorite place, Brick and Mortar, met a couple and talked with them the entire night. Sunday, we had lunch at Locale Market (an incredible, jaw-dropping place) and saw Jurassic World (which pretty much sucked. We were uber disappointed), and had ourselves a delightful weekend together.

The weekends are getting harder and harder when it comes time to say goodbye. We may be seeing an end in sight as we try to figure out Timmy’s job and what moving will look like. We’re not there yet, but we’re definitely having the talks.

Life is so funny. As I’ve been going through the summer, I haven’t really felt like what we’ve been up to has been that interesting to share. I haven’t been taking as many photos, I’ve really been trying to be IN the moment. But now that I’ve finished writing this post, damn, we are busy people. I love our life.

♥, VB

Unplugged but Not Forgotten

I’ve been doing this nifty thing lately where I have hardly documented my life through social media. I think that’s evident since I haven’t posted anything since April 1. Whoops.

I assure you we are alive, healthy, and well. We have been doing pretty much the same routine as always, one weekend in St. Pete, one weekend in Orlando, with a few trips in between to Atlanta. It’s been a pretty hectic two months, that’s for sure and I’m sure I echo pretty much everyone you’ve spoken to lately but I CANNOT BELIEVE IT’S ALREADY JUNE.

So to quickly recap, this is what life has looked like lately for us:

April

  • We were able to hook up with a longtime friend from high school who lives in the Orlando area for a Braves Spring Training game which was super hot but luckily, he and his family have tickets in the shade, so thank god for that. It was a sad moment for me as I realized I only recognized 2 names on our roster, and thus, I’m old.
  • My friend Athena, who works at USF Tampa, was able to score me a VIP pass and seating to see Bill Nye, a personal hero of mine. It did not disappoint. If you ever get a chance to see him, DO IT.
  • We also got to go to the Rowdies home opener! Professional soccer is not something I’m super into, but we had a really good time! The fan section was KRUNK, for sho.
  • We also went to Animal Kingdom as we continued the use of our incredible Florida Resident Disney Passes. I was convinced that I had never been, and truly nothing looked familiar, but it turns out my uncle posted a picture of us on FB riding the Dinosaur ride back when I was in high school, so memory is not the perfect time recorder as you may think it is. I would post pictures of all the safari animals, but really, you’re not going to care.
  • I got us tickets MONTHS ago to see Kathy Griffin who I’m pretty much obsessed with. That woman knocks my socks off, she’s too damn funny. We even braved going back to Lakeland for her, and I’m sure she’ll never know the sacrifice we showed for her.
    • Side note: Timmy is still pretty popular with the gays, as he is really a bear (look it up if you don’t know what I’m talking about). He even got pinched by Katherine, Kathy Griffin’s look-alike drag queen, and got his picture taken for one of those gay nightlife magazines. HE STOLE MY DREAM WITHOUT EVEN TRYING. F@#$*@@, I should’ve been a gay man.
  • April finally finished up with a trip back to Atlanta for my friend Mel’s bachelorette party and bridal shower. These girls, they steal my heart. This is my close group of friends from grad school, and man do I love them. We did a little clubbing, a little lake house fun, and it was such a needed trip for me. We also had time that weekend to go to the Inman Park Festival and meet up with my really good girlfriend Alex. It’s been forever since we’ve been able to go to an Atlanta festival, and god it was wonderful.We also stopped by Timmy’s friend’s crawfish boil, where I proceeded to amaze the men by throwing like a pro. (notice I didn’t say “like a man”. I’m a girl, and I throw like a person who knows what they’re doing. Gender ain’t got nothing to do with it.)

May

  • So began the month of a ton of family birthdays. My soon-to-be niece Caroline, my soon-to-be sister in law Katy, mine, my niece Charlotte, my father…July/August were THE months, if you catch my drift. I didn’t get to celebrate with anyone, which was fine, but for the first time in a long time, I was kind of lonely. I’m starting to miss my friends and family more than before, but now that it’s summer (not technically, but who are we kidding? It’s FL), it’s really the perfect time for everyone to start visiting and satisfy my friend/family cravings.
  • I had 3 spine injections. Life is much better now.
  • We had more beach weekends. This is really the sweet spot of FL weather. It’s hot, but not disgusting yet, and the beaches aren’t full with tourists. It’s delightful.
  • We went back to Atlanta for Mel and Brandon’s wedding, which I had the honor of officiating. That’s two weddings now, and I’d better have a 2-0 record. I’m available for weddings and vow renewals in case anyone’s in the market.
  • We packed in wedding planning that weekend as well, and it was freaking exhausting. We had a SUPER unpleasant meeting with one of our venue’s reps, and it was so bad I had to email the director and had someone else assigned to us. If you plan on using the Foundry at Puritan Mill, stay clear of Wendy Collins. She’s the WORST.
  • That weekend we also got in our engagement photos, which we will be getting back this week and I’m about to pee my pants, I’m so excited to share with you “our vision”. You. Should. Be. Excited.
  • My sister and niece Anna came to visit, and I LOVED IT. Anna is so not used to being by herself with all the adult attention on her (since she’s a twin), so it was really neat to see her personality without her feeling like she’s fighting for the spotlight. We took her shelling, and we watched her eat lemons including the rind. She’s a little weirdo, and I love her.
  • We had a lovely Memorial Day evening basically doing a craft brewery crawl, starting with Green Bench with a co-worker, his fiancee and her son. GOOOOOOD times.
  • I got to present at the American College Health Association’s 2015 Annual Meeting in Orlando last week, and it was fantastic. We had a crowd of 85 people, and when I got to the office today, I had phone calls and emails from other universities waiting for me, wanting to talk about how to integrate their college health services like we have! I was voted Secretary of the Health Promotion section for 2015-16, and I’m really looking forward to getting more involved with ACHA this year.
  • Finally, we finished off our Disney field trips with a visit to Epcot on Saturday. I got over 24,000 steps that day, so yeah, it was a good day.

And now you’re all caught up. Life is moving quickly and picking up pace (as if that’s even possible), and we have even more trips planned out of town and in town with friends coming to visit. I LOVE SUMMER IN ST. PETE.

♥, VB

Laughs at Theme Parks

It should come as no surprise to you that Orlando is a BITCH of a commute, namely because of the traffic from theme parks. Everywhere you look, theme park, ride, slide, fun thing! And tourists make I-4 a living hell.

Of course, that’s the only way to drive directly through Orlando on the way to St. Pete and to get to Timmy’s place, so that’s always super fun. Thankfully, in order to get my head and spirit out of the funk it was in the last month or so, we’ve been taking a few field trips.

Disney offers FL resident ticket packages regularly, but the most recent deal was just too good to pass up. 3 day-tickets that don’t have to be used consecutively for only $129/person. ARE YOU KIDDING?!?! And even better, we can add on an extra day for $20/person. Unreal.

So of course, we got those tickets, added on a day, and have spent most of our last Orlando weekends taking advantage of Disney. I tried to get us in on weekends that bookend spring breaks so that it would be busy (duh, it’s Disney) but not psycho booked with out-of-towners. And my planning so far has pretty much been spot on.

Our first day, we hit up Magic Kingdom. Thank you Fast Pass, for letting me book 3 rides online. No Thank You Fast Pass, for not showing on the website in bright flashing lights that once those 3 were done, I could find a kiosk at the park and get more fast passes. That would’ve been nice in order to avoid the 80 minute line for the Dwarf Mine Train (which was awesome btw).

Of course, I downloaded our candid photos that turned out to not be so candid because we were prepared to be dorks. Enjoy.

buzz lightyear ride space mountain splash mountainMagic Kingdom

The next day, our friend from high school was in town playing with American Authors for Universal Studios’ Mardi Gras. I had no plans to go because they were playing on a Sunday night, a time I usually spend driving 2 hours home from Orlando. Zac was too sweet and not only got us VIP passes to meet everyone after the show, but he also got us free tickets to both parks.

So hell yeah we went.

We met up with one of Timmy’s friends who lives in Sarasota, and proceeded to roam the parks. The Harry Potter section of the park is still just as amazing as it was the last time we were there, but since then, they opened the Hogwarts Express train that takes you from Islands of Adventure to the Studios park and Diagon Alley.

I may or may not have admitted to being more excited to ride the train than planning our wedding.

Diagon Alley was just unbelievable. Truly 100% crazy cool. We were also able to ride the Escape from Gringott’s ride right before the parks closed, which was hella fun. My ride home at 11:30pm? That was not hella fun, but the weekend rocked, so I can’t complain.

I warn you that my pictures include my fanny pack. I unabashedly rock my fanny pack when we hit the parks because I HATE wearing a purse. It always makes my shoulder/back sweat, and my shoulder always gets sore from the weight. I can’t stand it. So fanny packs, we’re BFFs and I have NO SHAME ABOUT IT.

Next up was Hollywood Studios, which is one of my favorites because they have LEGIT rides there. I normally have to wear a motion sickness patch because I’m old as crap, but I decided to forego it for these day trips because they give me cotton mouth like I’ve never experienced before and they make you super sleepy.

I forgot how quickly you can run through Hollywood Studios, so it’s a good thing we got there around 2p. We hit every ride there AND still made the massive show Fantasmic right before the park closed. We also got to do Tower of Terror twice, which might be one of the biggest natural highs we’ve ever had.

I had a slight sad attack when we arrived though because the large Mickey wizard hat is gone, so there were construction gates all around where the hat used to be. This area is in front of my favorite ride, The Great Movie Ride. Don’t ask me why it’s my favorite. Maybe the innocence of it? Maybe because it’s the only thing I could truly stomach as a child? I’m lame, I know.

Anyways, we both thought that the construction was also for the Great Movie Ride, which meant that it was closed. And I was so sad. Until hours later, we walked around the back and saw the line! So yay, panic over (although I did read that they’re also getting rid of this ride soon…boo).

The Tower of Terror, although it starts tummy rumblings for me whenever I think of that scary ass building, is maybe one of the most fun rides ever. I can’t stand freefalls when you can see how high you’re dropping, but there’s something about the Tower of Terror that gets me every time. You have no idea how far you’re falling, you have no idea when you’re going to fall the entire distance, and the random up-and-down drops make me laugh thinking about it, even NOW.

The two of us, giggling non-stop, after both times, god that was fun. Why would anyone want to do drugs when rides like this one exist? Adrenaline rush much?

After the natural high, we still had enough in us to hit up Downtown Disney and House of Blues with a killer blues band to boot.

[I realize that it looks like I’m wearing the exact same blue top two weekends in a row, but I can assure you it is a different top. And maybe I need to branch out on my wardrobe colors.]

Side note: As a follow up to my last post, it’s no secret that I’ve still been struggling with the marriage thing. I’ve been having massive anxiety issues, still having trouble sleeping, and it’s kind of disrupting this wonderful flow that Timmy and I have. Now I’m looking for some professional help in order to work out these mental issues. No shame in this game. If it’s a problem, time to work on it.

Animal Kingdom and Epcot, we’re coming for you.

♥, VB

Rough Go

That’s been me lately. Having a rough go of it. It’s like a switch has been thrown and I’m in the funk.

This whole wedding planning thing is OVERWHELMING. Capital letters all the way.

I don’t say this for pity or to be dramatic. I know there are worse things happening globally, there are things that need attention beyond my little world. I know people would love to be in a position of planning an over-the-top wedding with all the fixins. But I am completely overwhelmed.

I’ve been trying to find the happy medium, the balance, but let me tell you, when your ideal wedding was a courthouse getaway that has now been turned into a full-blown wedding extravaganza, it’s hard to find the healthy grip on life again.

All the compromises, I’ve heard them and pitched them, so no need to offer advice on how to find the middle ground, either. Destination wedding? Timmy vetoed that a LONG time ago. Courthouse wedding then have a big party? No difference in the overall price, so not really worth compromising on. Eloping? I think I would greatly regret it. Split the cost? I. am. poor.

I don’t need any, “Hey girl, you’ll be fine!” and I especially don’t need any, “Just get over it and have fun!” None of those help, and in fact, they make me feel worse.

The budget just keeps climbing and climbing so fast I’m having anxiety and trouble sleeping. I’m feeling such an overwhelming (there’s that word again) amount of guilt mixed with appreciation…I don’t really think there’s a word that fits the feeling that has embedded itself into my veins. My parents have offered to pay for the wedding, which holy shit, is just about the most generous thing they’ve done for me since, oh I don’t know, paid for all of my education and everything I’ve ever needed ever.

How do you accept a gift like that when you expected all the gifts to have ended by now?

I have felt physically ill when I see how much this wedding is already costing, and I think back to all those times (and there were MANY times) I scoffed at the wedding industry and couldn’t believe people spent that much money on one day that goes by likethat.

I guess I am now one of those people. Never say never, I guess.

Don’t get my intentions here wrong. I am not unappreciative. In fact, I’m so appreciative, I can’t stop crying. I seriously have cried nearly every single day for over a week, and we’ve only been wedding planning for like 5 weeks now. First it was the guest list that just about stopped my heart. Then it was the searching for a venue in a city and state we don’t live in, which makes the necessity of finding a place that much greater so we can stop worrying about it and not have to fly back and forth a million times. Then it was the list that our wedding planner handed to us with a never-ending list of things to do that shortens my breath. Then it was the year anniversary of Jake passing, which was just the cherry on top of a guilt-ridden, weepy, anxiety-producing sundae.

I will get to a place where I’m ok with all of this, I know I will. I will feel immensely happy and appreciative without the guilt. I’m not quite there yet, and I have to be ok with that too. We all have a process, and considering this is the first and last time I will ever do this, I need to move through the shock to get to the happy.

The happy is being with my partner, the happy is spending a life exploring each other and this world, the happy is making him laugh for years to come, the happy is in the celebration of this love.

The happy is Timmy. Which will be my mantra from here until our wedding day.

♥, VB

Birthday Wishes for My Birthday Boy

Timmy, for you on your birthday day, I wish:

  • that 32 feels more amazing than 31, 30, and 29 did.
  • that you accomplish your heart’s desires.
  • that you always feel as loved as you make me feel, every day of this year, and every year afterwards.
  • that you see Floyd do something cute and laugh.
  • that you remember something I did to make you laugh and smile.
  • that you remind yourself that our separation is temporary.
  • that you feel the love of all your friends and family, even though they’re not near.
  • that we continue to make each other laugh at all the ridiculous ideas we’re coming up with for our wedding.
  • that you truly feel content in the path that you’ve chosen.
  • that you feel supported by me to stay on this path or on any other path you want to travel.
  • that we travel to more new and exciting places this year and continue to create magical memories together.
  • that you know, without a doubt, that this day, the day of your birth, is one of the few days that I’m the most thankful for.

I love you, truly and deeply. Happy birthday partner.

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♥, VB