Our priorities with regards to what we work on over the next year or so may have just changed, though which direction they'll change will depend on whether we decide to get married here at the house (making more visible projects a higher priority) or somewhere else (making saving money a higher priority).
Yup, folks, we're getting married.
Not that we don't already consider ourselves married already; in fact we had a private (just the two of us) ceremony formally expressing our commitment to each other several years ago. But this will be the part where I finally have a reason to put on a fancy dress, Von gets an excuse to wear a tux, we get to hang out with a few dozen of our friends and family, and more than anything, we get to exchange vows with those friends, family, and God as our witnesses -- all of whom we hope will share in our happiness, celebrate with us, hold us to those vows, and support us through times when things aren't going so well. And then we dance. And eat. And dance some more. And hope there are a few Lowes' gift certificates slipped our way as gifts.
So far we're pretty light on the details: Von asked me the other night if we could get married with a public ceremony, and I said yes, and that's about as far as our conversations have gone . Since the only time for us to do something like this is while I'm on summer break, I'm guessing late spring 2009, since I can't imagine my getting my act together enough to plan this for next year, or our getting our finances together enough post-all our recent big expenses, plus I'm not into the heat and humidity of our summers here. When we were semi-planning something like this years ago (before life got in the way), we decided on a Jewish wedding (since I'm Jewish though basically no one else there will be) and a Latin reception (since Von's PuertoRican and Dominican). We want low key and low budget, and since it will be a stretch if we come up with even just 50 people to invite, that will help keep the expenses low and the intimacy high.
One thing we do want though, is a "honeymoon" in Canada where we will have a short civil service, so that at least someone somewhere will recognize that when we're a couple who owns a house, pays our taxes, fights but works it out, wills each other everything, works together to help raise our grandchildren, and is willing to make a personal and legally binding commitment to each other, then dammit we're married, and we are NOT legally strangers as the US and most state governments consider us to be. It's hard enough knowing that no matter what kind of paperwork we draw up, I could be denied access to Von's hospital room if she were to become seriously ill, that her father from whom she is totally estranged could swoop down and take her body away from her and bury her in a dress while their evangelical church prayed over what a sinful life she'd led, that Von will have to pay taxes on everything I leave to her if I die, that if Von dies in the line of duty I am not entitled to the same compensation that any other spouse would get, and the list goes on and on and on. Why do so many folks insist that my wanting those things is asking for "special rights?" Whose marriage am we hurting by wanting our relationship to be both legally binding and legally recognized?
Sorry to get so political and near-pitiful on you, folks. But there is no question that Von is my life-mate, my spouse in not only my eyes but our family's, our friends', our coworkers', and our God's. I'm just tired of fighting, and sad that we have to get passports in order to get to a more civilized country who will legally recognize our commitment to each other.
(fyi, MA requires you to live there to be married there, and I'm not willing to settle for the "separate but kinda sorta equal" that a few other states have provided.)