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Raggedy Anne and Randy: Our 2004 Road Trip Wedding Prologue

Goldens!

Hi! We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we did this one time.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in recent weeks we’ve been sharing the stories of our annual road trips that we undertook before I launched MCC in April 2012. Starting from the beginning and working our way forward, so far we’ve covered 1999 to 2003. Making the leap to 2004 first requires a digression for an important milestone.

A while back we reprinted the he-said-she-said tale of our relationship in Part One and Part Two of a special two-part miniseries. After seventeen years of knowing each other as classmates, coworkers, neighbors, best friends, and eventually an official Dating Couple, in July 2004 Anne and I became husband and wife and our world was never the same, except for the part where we still did road trips every year.

The following is a retelling of our blessed, frequently awkward wedding day, a time of joy and music and accidents, two weeks before we embarked on that year’s fun, frequently awkward journey. The following essay was previously shared with a small circle of friends but has been given the “special edition” treatment for archiving here on MCC.

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Our Mother’s Day Suburban Archaeology Project

encyclopedias

Behold the encyclopedia that time forgot!

What we have here is a complete, 29-volume set of the 1983 Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia. This product was sold through Marsh Supermarkets to discerning shoppers at the rate of one new volume every week until their collection was complete and informational victory was achieved. For a little extra you could buy single companion volumes such as a medical encyclopedia, a legal encyclopedia, and the Funk & Wagnalls Hammond World Atlas in case you wanted to see all of the USSR or learn what kind of currency was used in Zaire.

Up until a couple weeks ago, my mom still had all twenty-nine volumes on her shelf, thirty years after the original purchase. Just in case.

This way for more about our weekend plans…

My First Boss, 1950-2013

first bossAt age 16 the thought of a part-time after-school job never occurred to me until I received a letter one day from a man named David Sleppy, owner/operator of the McDonald’s down the street from my high school. His store had launched a new recruitment program that offered a higher starting wage to applicants who were on the school’s honor roll — $3.85/hour at a time when minimum wage was $3.35/hour. As an introverted, insular kid with no self-awareness and minimal exposure to social worlds beyond my own limited boundaries, it wasn’t tempting until I did the math and realized that $3.85/hour was greater than my $5/week allowance. I figured why not. And hey, the letter guaranteed the job. Back in those days, silver platters were my favorite way of receiving things.

Mom drove me down there the next day and I filled out an application, but left most of the blanks empty because I had no experience and no idea how to sell myself on qualities alone. I saw no blank that allowed me to describe myself as “smart” and “nice”. But it didn’t matter to me anyway. I had the letter.

When I handed it to the manager on duty, he said they’d keep it on file. He brusquely sent me on my way, despite the letter. I was crestfallen.

Later that same day, David called me personally and told me I was hired.

For me, that’s when life began.

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The Story of One Geek Couple, Part 2 of 2

wedding, happy couple

Don’t you hate it when a trailer or a comic-book cover give away the end of the story? Yeah, so do we. This remains among my favorites from our unnecessarily vast wedding photo collection, Star Trek red-alert lighting and all.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: representing the saga of How We First Met. Part One has the detailed intro that needs little paraphrasing. If you’ve stumbled across this half first, you’re doing it wrong. Click the link in the first sentence, catch up to this moment, then rejoin us with your Back button. Better reading that way, trust me.

Onward, then.

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The Story of One Geek Couple, Part 1 of 2

Tim Rose, Star Wars Celebration II

Happy best friends hanging out at Star Wars Celebration II in May 2002, posing with puppeteer Tim Rose, who gave life to Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi. Back then her glasses were as wide and as round as the moon, and so was I.

[The following two-part entry is a 2002 essay written tag-team style with the best friend who would later become my wife, originally composed for friends who’d wanted to know how we met. Original posting dates and authorship are appended to each chapter for reference, especially for those who’ve never read my wife’s writing.

Though these passages are now eleven years old and cry out for rewriting, I’ve decided to present this encore generously intact, albeit with mild elements of special-edition Lucas-izing. I deleted one pejorative, two bits of slander, two beyond-personal items, one misuse of “literally” my conscience wouldn’t abide, and a belabored Bloom County reference that made zero sense after the preceding edits.

I’m revisiting this for a reason. More about that at the end of Part Two.]

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Our Collected Road Trip Maps, 1999-2012

Among the many commonalities my wife and I share, one of them is an Indianapolis childhood that saw precious few opportunities for traveling beyond Indiana state limits. My wife was part of a large family that would go broke quickly if they had to feed and accommodate every member on the road. My family could only afford vacations to other relatives’ houses. Like many adults, we vowed to do the opposite of what our parents did. We found reasons and means to get out of town. It’s rarely easy, but we’ve made it happen without carrying years’ worth of debt.

A few of our basic secrets to success:

1. Save up as much as possible in advance. For too many people, “save” is a four-letter word. In our household, “debt” is a much harsher four-letter word.

2. If the vacation savings weren’t enough, spend the autumn paying down the rest. Pay it down hard.

3. No expensive air travel. We don’t fly. Ever. I’ve never set foot in any plane that wasn’t docked in a museum. It’s not fear of flying; it’s fear of expenditure. I’m aware that ticket prices have dropped in recent years. They can keep right on dropping as far as I’m concerned. It would also help if there existed a single tale of post-9/11 air travel that was blessed with unhindered grade-A customer service at every single footstep through the process.

Hence our annual road trips. On a dare from the WordPress.com Weekly Writing Challenge, I present three maps outlining our life in road trips to date.

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