Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Back to the Basics - what to do when you are stressed or down

I've been down and out lately emotionally for many reasons.  When I'm really low, I need people to remind me of the things to do to pull myself back up.  No one likes it when you are depressed or grumpy or cranky.

If you are feeling down, here are some of the things that I do that might help you pick yourself up:

1.) Find joy in the little things
On the way to work, I stopped by a little bakery to pick up some pastries for the office.  This lovely older Italian lady boxed them up for me and tied them with a string.  This reminded me of my childhood and the donut place in Potsdam, NY.  It wasn't a chain and they would tie up your donuts in a box like this.  The pastries were delicious and she was charming.

2.) Do something you love
I love cooking and trying new recipes.  For some people, comfort food makes them happy (I don't knock it and have been known to make my mom's lasagna recipe every week when I'm stressed).  For me, making new recipes and trying new things with someone I love is a pick me up.  Last night, I tried another recipe with my new vegetable spiralizer.  This enchilada bake was really scrumptious.  

3.) Exercise
I find that even a brisk walk can pick me up.  What really makes me happy is to go out for a 3 to 5 mile run.  The fresh air and endorphins make a difference.

4.) Be around someone you love
For me, being around my twin brother or my husband usually helps me feel better.  I know that my twin brother also loves being around his kids and his dog or cat when things are bad.

5.) Chocolate or your favorite sweet
Sweets, in moderation, are a nice pick me up.  I am a chocolate lover and know that I want chocolate when I'm stressed.  I just know I have to eat more than just chocolate to survive and can't eat tons of chocolate if I am going to stay healthy.  

6.) Intimacy
Being intimate with someone you love can also be a pick me up when things are bad.  Sometimes you go beyond cuddling and that makes a world of difference.

7.) Helping someone else
When I'm feeling down on myself, sometimes I need to just volunteer somewhere.  Surprisingly just going to the grocery store this week, someone needed me and my long arms to reach something off a tall shelf.  This little act of helping someone else in need makes me feel better both about myself and about the state of the world.  

8.) Make a list and prioritize
My friends in college always joked about my lists.  Sometimes when I am overwhelmed I just need to write a list.  This list can be a list of the things that I am worried about accomplishing, the list of things bothering me, the list of worries, or sadness.  Next, I make a plan.  How do I prioritize this list?  What is the biggest worry, toughest bother, or most important project and what can I actually do to fix it or make it better.

9.) Faith
When things are tough, for me, going to church helps.  Being around other people and praying with them for both my needs and theirs helps me feel better.

10.) Music
Another thing that makes me feel better is singing or dancing.  I pick some of my old favorite songs and crank up the music at home or in my car or office.  I then dance as hard as I can or sing as loud as I am able.  Both of these let out pent up negativity and make me feel better.

11.) Dress up 
I love to dress up.  I love costumes, bow ties, nice suits, fun hats, and any reason to look my best or to make people laugh.  For me, dressing in either my nicest professional suit and tie or in a costume both bring me joy and laughter.  I love looking good or having fun.

and finally (at least for me and my short list).

12.) Call Mom
I'm fortunate that my mom is a big part of my life.  When things are tough, sometimes I just want to hear her voice and she can listen to me complain or cry.  Just talking to her can make things better.  It isn't mom for everyone, but hopefully you have someone special you can talk to when things are tough.

You  may need to do one of these, all of these, or find your own way to crawl out of the doldrums.  Fortunately, at least some of these are free and easy to do.  If you are down, make that list, go for that walk, reach out to that friend, go on that adventure, try something new, and know that being down doesn't have to be the end all be all.  There is happiness and joy to be had.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wedding on a budget

My wedding was one month ago.  In spite of my best attempts to keep it to a minimum budget, I still ended up paying double what I wanted to.

I will say that wedding wire was enormously helpful.  This free website has a budget tool, a calendar tool, and a checklist.  The good thing about the website tools is that they are very flexible.  The website wasn't as great about customizing tools to gay couples (I kept getting stuff for brides even though we self-identified as a male-male gay couple up front), but I still used the site extensively.

Fortunately for me, we had friends who helped with everything from the music for the wedding to officiating.  This saved us money and helped us to incorporate these important people into our special day.  I've outlined below how one might choose to do a budget wedding, but still get the things they want.  It is important to figure out where your priorities are when planning where to spend money. You can see by my lists what was most important to me/us.

Where we spent money:
1.) Cake
We decided that we wanted a beautiful and unique cake that was gorgeous.  We chose a more expensive baker because his cakes were the tastiest and prettiest of all of the cakes we saw.  We designed our cake and he made our design a reality.  His end product wasn't quite what we started with as a picture in our mind, but was perfect for the wedding.  The cake was beautiful and delicious.  Where you can save money on the cake is to have a smaller cake and then purchase sheet cakes.  You only need a cake to cut, not the shaped cake to feed everyone.

2.) Rings
The second largest cost for us was for our rings.  This, in my mind, is where you want to spend the most money.  We found a place that made custom rings for us out of gold and exotic wood.  We love them, and they happen to be priced reasonably.  The other place where you can get rings for a better price is to go to pawn shops.  For some people, this is fine.  For others, the idea of owning someone else's jewelry as their wedding ring isn't so cool.  We wanted something custom and went with it. Although we didn't get super expensive rings, we chose to spend money here.  This is the symbol of our marriage and something we will be wearing for the rest of our lives.  This was important to us.

3.) Good Food
The largest cost for my wedding was the catering costs.  We saved a great deal of money by choosing to use a restaurant instead of a hotel for our reception.  We chose a restaurant that isn't normally open on Saturdays for the daytime.  We had a morning wedding followed by brunch.  Having brunch instead of dinner is really much more affordable.  We were able to have a lovely buffet for half the cost of a dinner.  Additionally, we chose to only provide champagne to guests and have a cash bar.  We chose, too, to have the wedding in Rochester, New York.  Most of our guests would have to travel for a wedding regardless of location, so we chose one where we had connections and where prices were cheaper.  This did limit our guest list (not on purpose) to those people who were willing and could afford to travel outside of the city for a wedding.  David and I love to go out to eat.  We really enjoy tasty food.  We chose a restaurant that was known for super good food.  The place we chose has a unique flair to it.  They also cooked custom food for us.  My parents brought maple syrup from our farm that was served with french toast and the chef made Nigerian Joloff rice to make my husband happy.

4.) Custom accessories.  
We chose to have custom bow ties and cummerbunds made for us out of Nigerian fabric.  These cost us $600.  In fact, they bow ties and cummerbunds cost more than our tuxes and shirts.  We also had a cake topper made that was a little statue of us.  We didn't use it as a cake topper, but had it next to our cake.

5.) Flowers
The price of flowers shocked me a little.  If we had done the wedding where we lived, we would have done the flowers ourselves.  Just the boutonnieres for the men and the centerpieces for the tables cost us a lot of money.  We chose to rent the vases that held the flowers and to return them the following Monday.  This saved us $7/piece.

6.) Pre-Marriage Counseling
Our minister suggested this and it was recommended highly by most people we talked to.  I can't stress enough how helpful it was to go through this pre-wedding counseling.  We each did a Myers Briggs test  and read through how our different personalities interact in a relationship.  We also wrote a covenant to each other stating what our promises to each other were.  This covenant ended up being our vows.  We wrote each other a love letter.  We also were asked to make a list of the things we saw in other marriages that we wanted in our own marriage and a list of the things that we didn't want in our marriage that we had seen in others.  A minister talked us through each piece.  This cost some money but was well worth it.

Where we saved money:
1.) Wedding favors
We also made our own wedding favors, which made the wedding more personal and was more affordable.  I chose to make home-made chapstick and buy little containers and stickers.  We also found some Christmas Crackers that were simple and not Christmas in design on ebay that we had at each place.  We encouraged guests to open them as soon as they got to their tables.  You had to open them as a couple and share the joke inside.  It encouraged people to get to know others around them. We wanted people to have a memory of us, but not break the bank making it.

2.) Tuxes
For tuxedos, we chose to purchase two inexpensive matching tuxedos from Amazon.  We then had them altered extensively.  With the alterations and the purchase, the tuxedos ended up being cheaper than rentals for us.  We asked our groomsmen to wear black suits and white dress shirts with black shoes.  We provided them with bow ties, pocket squares, and fun socks.  This saved them money and people didn't really notice that they were not in tuxes.

3.) Catering
The catering costs were cheaper at a restaurant than a hotel because restaurants don't have to pay a hotel tax.  Restaurants will work with you on a custom menu.  We also chose brunch because it was more affordable.  Additionally, not having an open bar did save money.

4.) Decorations
We chose a restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio.  We had the ceremony on the patio and had no decorations other than the trees and shrubs.  We also selected a restaurant that was beautiful inside and out so that we didn't need to decorate it.  The only decoration was the flower centerpieces on the tables.

5.) DJ
We did not plan on having people dance at our wedding reception.  We still wanted music.  Instead of hiring a DJ, we put together a playlist on iTunes and just had that playing through a sound system that we borrowed from a friend.  They did cue up our first dance song.  Other than that, we used our playlist.  Some people did dance, but it was mostly just people sitting and talking.

6.) Videography
We chose to purchase our own video camera for $300 and asked a friend to videotape for us.  We didn't want to spend the money on a videographer, but heard loud and clear from our friends that we definitely would want a video of our wedding.

7.) Photography
Photography is typically one of the most expensive parts of a wedding.  This is for a good reason too. Photos are very, very important of your special day.  Given our budget, we chose to go with a young college student who was just starting his photography business instead of one of the more seasoned and expensive wedding photographers.  His cost was a small fraction of the cost of the others we looked at.  We have not seen all of the photos yet, but the dozen that we did see were absolutely stunning.  He was wonderful to work with and we can hardly wait to see the photos he took.

8.) Weather and Permits
We took some chances with the weather.  We had an outdoor wedding with a rain plan that wasn't great.  We also chose to take photos at a place where you usually need a permit, but didn't purchase that permit.  We took the chance that it might work and had a back up plan that was free in case it didn't work.  We got lucky that it didn't rain (except for one or two drops) and that no one else was at the location where we took our photos.

9.) Family and Friend Help
My family and friends helped out a lot.  One of my friends who is a minister performed the ceremony.  Another friend played the cello as her gift to us.  Some friends sang for us.  My sister and brother helped set up the reception, ceremony, sound system, and helped make things run smoothly. They took the place of a wedding planner or coordinator. I tried to give them instructions, but they still had to make many decisions on their own.

10.) Hotel stays  
For the wedding and honeymoon, we stayed at friends places who were out of town.  We only paid for a hotel room on the night of the wedding.  This saved us a lot of money.

11.) Limo
After looking at limos, we chose to rent an SUV instead.  We were given a beautiful, clean red SUV that we used to transport things all weekend.  I found a coupon code through plumb benefits which we have at work.  If you look for coupon codes, you can find them and save money.  It helped that we didn't have to clean our own car out and could use the extra space in the SUV to bring guests different places.  We used it to bring the groomsmen for photos too.  If you have friends willing to drive and clean out their cars, that would work too.  We didn't have that option.

12.) Invitations
For invitations, we chose to have a custom drawing made for us. We used a website called Fiverr where you can pay $5 or more for people to do things for you.  We actually spent $100 and had five drawings made for us.  We chose our favorite and then put it on the cover of a postcard type invitation.  We chose to have people email or call to RSVP instead of using stamps on a reply envelope.  We printed everything on vista print which was awesome.  We used their website to design and print invitations, thank you cards, a poster for people to sign at the wedding, and our printed wedding programs.  They have design templates, and if you have a problem their customer service line is really helpful.  I had recently signed up for the google chrome extension called honey and ended up getting awesome coupons through that for quite a few of my purchases.  It is very helpful for vista print in particular.

13.) Flower Girl and Ring Bearer
We found a cute box on ebay for our ring bearer, picked up a nice kids tux for him and it was perfect, and had his mom buy him some comfortable sneakers.  For the flower girl, we found a nice inexpensive dress online that she liked.  We used extra bow tie fabric and made her a headband for her hair and then glued it as a ribbon around a basket we picked up at a garage sale for the flower petals.  The local grocery store (Wegmans) sells rose petals by the bag which were much less expensive than a florist.

14.) Rehearsal Dinner
For a rehearsal dinner, we just ordered bbq take out and ate at a friend's house.  Our families did not care if we had something fancy.  We picked up beer and drinks at the grocery store and had them in coolers on ice.

What made it special
1.) Private Time/Picnic
A friend suggested that we sneak away between the wedding photos and reception and just have some time for us.  I had a friend who was a chef pack us a special picnic basket as her wedding gift to us.  We dropped everyone off at the reception and drove to a little park.  We unpacked our picnic and spent just 20 minutes talking, eating quickly, and enjoying each other.  This was perfect.  We could have done it all day, but knew we had guests waiting.  We only ate a few bites of food, but it was enough to keep us going so that we didn't feel starved when we only ate a few bites during the reception.  

2. Uniquely us
Friends helped us throughout the wedding to make it uniquely us.  We had a cake that we designed, flowers we picked out, wedding favors that reminded our family and friends of us, and readings, songs, and prayers that we chose to represent who we are.  We wrote our vows and the entire ceremony was only the people we are closest to enjoying the day with us. If you can take the time to pick songs and readings that are not generic, but mean something to you, it will make the day even more special and memorable.  Involving our friends made them feel like they were contributing too.  

What I would do differently
I think I would ask that the minister and all of the readers and guests use the sound system that we had borrowed.  No one used it and it made it hard to hear for some of our guests and on the video. 

I would have been more explicit in my directions to our tailor for our bow ties and cummerbunds. We ended up having some issues with them that would have been solved had we communicated better with him.

I would have brought a few extra pairs of socks and cuff-links because that is what people forgot.  

I would have had extra pins for the boutonnieres.  They were top heavy and only came with one pin. This stressed me out before the wedding.  

I would have tried on my tux before leaving Brooklyn to drive to Rochester.  I ended up bringing the wrong tux pants which did not fit (we had two pairs of tux pants for my husband and none for me). Fortunately, I had an old tux in the attic of my rental property in Rochester and was able to use those pants).  

That's my quick summary of what we did to make our wedding more affordable, but still elegant and special to us.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

The aftermath

In the aftermath of seeing a shooting in the Bronx, I still can't quite get it out of my mind.

To recap, David and I left a party on Saturday night and witnessed a point blank shooting just across the street from us in the Bronx.  We ran away as fast as we could and drove home.

First, I keep checking online to see if I can find out more about whether or not the kid who was shot made it or not.  I can't find anything on the news. There were 14 other shootings around the city Saturday night and early Sunday morning, but no mention of this one.  It bothers me that I can't find out.

Second, I keep thinking that I was a coward for running away.  I am feeling ashamed that I didn't stay to help, to stop the bleeding, to wait for an ambulance to arrive, to reach out.  Instead, I ran.  I was scared.  I wanted to get David, his friends, and me as far away from there as fast as possible.  I don't know if I could have helped, but do know that I can usually remain calm in a panicked situation.  Would you have stayed to help?  To pray with or for the person?  To stop the bleeding and see what you could do?  We were scared that a gunfight was going to break out.  By the time we left, there were dozens of people standing around the body of the young man who was shot.

Third, I wonder if I need to get out of Brooklyn sooner than my initial five year plan.  I wanted to stay here five years to build the organization I am in.  I wanted to stay long enough to know I succeeded.  Now, I just want to get out of New York City all together.  This place is crazier, more dangerous, congested, louder, smellier, more unfriendly, expensive, and more difficult than any place I've ever lived.  I used to say that NYC was fun to visit, but I never wanted to live here.  That is still true for me.  There are amazing things here, but I think I'd much rather live in a smaller city and just visit.  I haven't given up yet.  I just miss the niceties of smaller cities.  There is a reason for me to be here for now.  I have faith that I will be moved to something different when the time is right.

This, like so much of New York City, is a daily dilemma.  You are surrounded by hatred, poverty, homelessness, mental illness, violence, and crowds of people that all need help.  The amount of help needed is overwhelming.  I remember when I resented how much money New York City got from the state when so many upstate cities needed help.  Now I wonder where all of that money is going.  How do you decide who to help and how?  Or do you decide to ignore it all and just donate to charities that are helping?  Do you do neither and just try to live your life without getting hurt?  Do you do it all and just keep giving until you have no more to give?

I'm feeling overwhelmed by all of it today.  There has to be an answer somewhere that is working for people.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

He shot him!

Words can't express the feeling that I have in my heart right now.  I'm grateful to be alive.  I'm thankful that my friends are ok.  I appreciate the fact that I live in Kennsington Brooklyn.  I rejoice that David didn't take an apartment in the Bronx early in our dating life.

Tonight, David and I went to a friends apartment to celebrate his 48th Birthday.  It was a lovely fete with huge trays of Nigerian food (joloff rice, egosi soup, pounded yams) and flowing liquor.  The music was loud and people were dancing and laughing.  We were happy for our friend who was having a good time.  We also got to see a bunch of friends who came to our wedding and whom we enjoy.

As we left the party to walk to our car (I drove because it's a very long subway ride on the weekends), we had to walk out of the complex, cross a bridge, and then get to our car.  I was walking fast in front.  I was eager to get home to my bed.  David and two friends who were catching a ride with us were talking, laughing, and walking behind me.  They had all had a few drinks, but I had not given that I was driving.

As we left the complex and started on the bridge, we heard tires squealing and then firecrackers going off.  I looked over to see a guy looking like he had just set them off and was going to run away.  There was a mess of stuff on the ground around him.  Then people started screaming.  David and his friends ran.  Someone yelled, "get down" and I dropped as fast as I could.  I then crab crawled backwards and started running as soon as I rounded the building.

David and his friends saw the shooting happen.  They saw the flash and the young man fall.  I was oblivious.  Fortunately, none of us was hurt.  We then ran back to our car and got the heck out of there.  I'm still in shock.  We all are.  The drive home was an hour and I still am shaken.  A young man was shot within 20 feet of me.  There were hundreds of people around including kids in strollers.  Any one of us could have been caught by a stray bullet or in crossfire.  I am fortunate that all I have is a bloody scraped knee from the mess.

I don't know if I'll be going to any more anythings in the Bronx any time soon.  Life is short.  I'm glad mine wasn't shortened tonight.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Relishing the last few days of summer

Today was my first 9-5 day back at the office.  We were fortunate to have summer hours in the office which meant getting out at 4 on weekdays and 3 on Fridays.  Wow does that give you more time to enjoy summer.  I'm already an early morning person, so getting up wasn't an issue.

I knew today was coming.  Mondays are tough to begin with.  Then add on to your Monday that you have to stay an hour longer than normal (I still usually get there at 8:00 a.m.).  Initially I was going to title this "Lamenting the end of summer," but I am on a positive energy kick lately.  I'm going to relish every part of this.  I'm glad that the heat has abated a little.  In spite of the broken AC unit at work, I still managed to keep cool with the windows open and a fan.

This past weekend, I ran errands all day on Saturday.  Sunday, David and our friend Aka spent the day at the beach with me.

We tried Coney Island Beach for the first time. We went there because it was advertised as part of Gay Black NYC Pride.  The event was a bust, but we sure did have a lot of fun just laying on the beach listening to the ocean waves and feeling the breeze blow through our shade canopy.  It wasn't until later in the day when the wind picked up that we had to take the canopy down or have the wind do it for us.  That happened just after a bird pooped right on the canopy and it's poop came through the mesh onto our friend Aka.  We told him we heard it was good luck somewhere.  Oh well, shit happens.  We did enjoy it.  We left just before the rain started.

These next four months are my favorite months in NYC.  The weather cools, but isn't too cold.  People are back from their summers away and want to grab dinners and drinks.  The summer feeling lasts for another month or so.  Then we are fortunate enough to get Autumn which is my favorite season of the year.  I've already got a list of recipes that I want to cook now that the kitchen is cooler.
Join me in relishing the good things we have now and coming up in the weeks ahead.  Let's not lament anything.  Relish with me.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Adversity either splits you up or helps you grow

This past few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions.  Between my husband being outed to his family and friends in Nigeria and me writing a response that went viral (man it really is crazy to see what goes viral), the community and family support has been amazing.  There are thousands of people who messaged us, found us on our blogs or instagram, or saw us on the street to tell us that God loves us and that we should ignore the haters.  The few haters said and did some hurtful things to me, but mostly to David.  As much as we wanted to ignore them, we saved every message to show to the immigration courts.

David and I also both started back at work, which in itself can be stressful.  The air conditioning in my office hasn't worked well since I started the job, but was totally busted this week.  School has started again, so our foot and email traffic has increased significantly.  Add to that interview requests about our story from CNN, the BBC, a PBS Station, and a few other lesser known media, and you have a super busy everything.

To top that off, David's wedding bring broke, we both got a flu bug that knocked us for a loop (and made me wonder if someone made a voodoo doll of us), and we are still trying to unpack and organize after the wedding.  Combine that with a traffic ticket, some unexpected bills, some returned immigration paperwork because we read the directions wrong, and this ungodly heat that may finally have broken in Brooklyn.

None of this alone really accounts for much adversity.  All of it together has added stress on to both of us that could very easily have broken us.  I thought it might.  When my house is a mess, I feel like my life is a mess.  When I can no longer respond to messages in a timely fashion, I feel unprofessional.  When I miss work because I am sick, I feel like I'm letting people down.  Messing up on paperwork and with traffic laws also doesn't make me feel very good about myself.

But now, I have David.  He is just taking this all in, helping me absorb it and figure out solutions.  David is reminding me to smile, to laugh, to eat (he made a scrumptious African stew for dinner the other night), to dress in nice clothes (dressing up makes me feel better), and to get exercise.  When all if this shit is happening to David and he should be the one stressed, he instead is helping me deal with it.  All of this bad stuff (and I'm probably missing half of what I feel like has happened to us over the past three weeks) has only made our love grow stronger and our communication better.

I feel like I got more than a husband when I married this amazing man.  I feel like I found someone to help me live my life to the fullest, to pull me up when I'm down, and to live the adventure that is life together.  Thanks, God.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Compiling resources for Asylum seekers and advoacy

Many of my friends and family have asked what they could do to help David, or his family in our time of crisis.  I'm trying to compile a list of resources and solutions for them and you to review.

Here is how you can help:
1.) Remember to always respond in love.  The three major religions of the world, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all teach love and forgiveness firts.

2.) Understand that throughout the world, and even in parts of the United States, it isn't safe to be gay without facing hostility whether it be physical, verbal, or emotional abuse here in the USA to decapitation, hanging, or other forms of punishment for being gay.  Support any gay person who just needs to be themselves.  Love them.

3.) If you get a chance to support someone who has escaped this persecution, do it.  Write letters of support for asylum cases, offer resources to nonprofits helping refugees (gay and straight), and encourage your house and senate representatives at the federal level to pressure other governments to change their laws or face consequences.

David was an HIV/Aids social worker in Nigeria reaching out to anyone who needed help.  Much of his work meant that he was working with closeted gay men to make sure they were getting medicine and using condoms.  Because of this work, he was a target of the Nigerian government and faced harassment and jail time simply for trying to help gay men, even though he was not out at the time.

Fortunately, David was then supported to come and live here, seek asylum, and no longer face the jail time, harassment, and death threats just for helping gay men.  When he got here, he was able to come out.

We are beyond grateful for Housing Works for creating, funding, and managing this project.  It has not been cheap, easy, or always working well, but it means that David is safe.  I get the added bonus that I got to meet the man of my dreams and marry him.

If you can support any organization right now, Housing Works seems to be doing the most work to help those people seeking asylum.  They can currently only help 12 people each year.  That is not even a tiny fraction of the people needing to escape from Nigeria alone.  Your support of them can and will help.

As I come upon more resources, I will share them.  Thanks and blessings upon you all.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Being Black in small town America

It pissed me off.  I won't mince my words.  If David had been hurt at all, I think I probably would have gone ape-shit crazy on those girls.

It's a Saturday night in Waddington, New York which is a tiny little town.  David and I were finishing our honeymoon staying near my parent's house.  We had gone to see the parade with my high school friends and then out for a drink.  David got cold (I'm used to the cold since I grew up there) and was walking briskly ahead of me and the three girls down the street toward our car so he could get a sweatshirt.

As we strolled down the street chatting, I wasn't worried about him.  That was until I heard a number of high pitched screams as if someone was being attacked.  I looked away from my conversation with my dear friend Alison to see three young girls who screamed like that just because they saw David walking quickly on the side walk in their direction.  He was playing on his phone and not even looking up.  How can a man of his stature who is playing on his phone even seem like a threat, let alone one that warrants screaming as if you are BEING attacked.

If Alison had not stopped me, I would've given these three drunk teenage/early 20's girls a swift talking to.  Damn small town, close minded, racist people.

David never mentioned it.  I don't even know if he knew we heard and saw.  He was so focused on running to the car to get a sweatshirt that he let it go.  I didn't let it go.  It still steams me.

How can this be right?  Why would someone not teach these girls?  I still wish I had said something:

1.) Not all black men are out to get you
2.) Not all black men will attack you
3.) Many black men would care less to even cross paths with you
4.) To scream in a black man's face is almost as bad as calling him a racial epithet.  Learn some manners.

Also, screaming when you see something frightening could have brought the police or other people who would harm David just because you happened to be scared of the color of his skin.  Then he would have been hurt because of your fear, not because of anything he did.  Scream when someone actually threatens or hurts you.  Learn to not be so damn drunk (probably under age).  Grow up.

Thank God my husband wasn't hurt, or I don't know if I could ever forgive you.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Wedding Recovery 101

David and I are exhausted.  In typical Eric fashion I wanted to squeeze way to many things in that short week of our honeymoon.  Between the stress of the wedding, the added stress of David's public outing to his family, and the smart/dumb idea we had to get a new-to-us car while on our honeymoon, we had more stress and less sleep that we needed. We drove back to Brooklyn from the northern reaches of New York as early as we could on Sunday.  It was a beautiful drive until we approached NYC.  Then, our gps bounced back and forth between the Lincoln Tunnel and the GW Bridge over and over.  It decided the GW was the "fastest" in the end.  By the time we got on the bridge, we had been waiting for over an hour to move the 100 or so feet.

We arrived home to an empty apartment and a car full of boxes and suitcases.  David had an amazing amount of energy (it probably helps that he slept most of the car ride) and we got them all into the apartment.

Now I feel like I'm in the Box trolls movie.

Just tonight, I finally was able to sort through the biggest boxes.  We didn't ask for many big things for our wedding.  We knew that our little apartment here didn't have much space.  Still, we ended up with lots of wonderful things.  Now we need to figure out where to put them, and fast.  I have a bbq on Sunday and it is probably going to rain.  That mean's I'll need my apartment in order.

We didn't get a gas grill, but Amazon gives you a 10% discount on anything on your registry after the wedding.  I wanted/needed one for the weekend bbq.  

We got some awesome new dishes, but have to pack up the old ones to sell or donate.  

David and I finished all of the thank you notes last night.  It was a monumental yet rewarding task. Thank God he is so patient and loving when I can be cranky.  His love will sustain me through the hardest of times.  

Now, we just need to figure out the Tetris puzzle that is our Brooklyn apartment. I'm sure that every married couple has to deal with the unpacking and figuring this all out.  I didn't realize how exhausting the whole thing was going to be.  David and I talked about a sunny beach honeymoon.  I said I wanted an active adventure honeymoon instead.  Maybe he was right.

Apparently it is time to start planning for that vacation too, as soon as I get rid of all of these boxes.