Heck, even when I was in Edmonton, and Rich was in Moose Jaw, OR when I was in Moose Jaw, and Rich was in Saskatoon, we kind of lost a bit of touch. And don't even get me STARTED on the hell year that was '97...
If I were pressed to make a list of my groomsmen for a wedding, it would be a tough call. How many is too many? I've got my MJ circle of high school friends, the old guard. I've got my Edmonton choir friends, some of whom are pretty much like brothers to me these days.
In any case, I had time to kill before the ceremony. I knew I needed a gift for Rich and Leah, so I decided to steal EJ's station wagon (ah, the joys of pulling family rank...) and tried to find Chinook Centre.
After getting EJ's instructions on how to get there ("Follow Crowchild until Glenmore. It'll be right off Glenmore."), I decided to take a impromptu tour of the greater Calgary area by freaking out and losing my way and missing the only turnoff I needed to make (or making turnoffs that shouldn't have been there).
I mean, sure, I work at The Mall That Eats People, but at least the architects know what they needed to do to have a mall that is cohesive, if horribly, horribly gaudy.
The first thing you see of Chinook is the polar ice caps that signify that you aren't in Kansas anymore, although the Paramount Cineplex will try its' damnedest to fit Kansas into itself.
While walking through the mall, I couldn't figure out how to get upstairs at all, got lost in the north end, and ended up wondering how I was able to enter The Bay on the east side of the mall on the second floor, only to arrive on the west side of the first floor.
God, that was one strange mall. Decent food court, mind you...
So, for the wedding gift, I thought, "What would be a good gift for Rich and Leah?" I had never met Leah before, but I know how much Rich likes to wind down after a day and just relax on the couch.
So I thought, "Might as well get them a nice fleece blanket for snuggling on the couch together. And let's get them a huge tub of popcorn kernels and a DVD for those stay-at-home nights." (Oh, HO! Thoughtful wedding gifts from Jago! All the women reading this entry must be kicking themselves now for not nabbing THIS catch!)
(Especially you, blonde girl from Elite Luggage in WEM, whom I see on the bus every now and then. Oh, yeah. I know how much you want me, by the way you walk in front of me all the way through Phase I. Don't deny it, babe!)
I go to the Bay, and find a good fleece queen-sized blanket for $30. Well within my price range, even with the movie I was to buy.
I take it to the cashier. Who asks for $16.04. Half off? Even better!
(I'm not sure when this sale ends. But $15 for a queen-sized fleece? GO! GO!)
I go into HMV, looking for a DVD copy of Fiddler on the Roof, a play that I performed back in high school. Although Rich wasn't involved that year, he had a lot of memories of that musical.
AND I find Young Frankenstein for $15! AND Guys and Dolls, complete with re-mastered sound for $10? Bam! I bought those too...
I follow that up with a kickass wedding card involving very nice photography.
And so, I get to the wedding, a mere 15 minutes away from my aunt's house.
My thoughts on the wedding?
It was decent. Although I wasn't a big fan of the pastors presiding over it. They seemed to not really have a set plan for how the wedding was going to go. And the wife of the team was just rambling during the sermon.
It was like, well, let's just put it this way: have you ever watched It's A New Day?
It was, in my mind, a lot like the opening segment of that, where they just ramble on about anything.
When I heard they were in from Moose Jaw, I pretty much thought, "Which church? Because I will try not to attend that one..."
Okay, that was my nitpicking about the wedding. Other than that, and besides the fact that I was sitting by my lonesome, because I didn't know too many people there, it was a good wedding.
RIGHT after the ceremony, I was able to help by pretty much being there for Rich and the boys, doing odd jobs, like making the church into a small hall for the toasts and speeches. There was no real reception, but a barbeque in a nice park afterwards. So, the toasts and whatnot.
It was pretty much the only time I'm sure I'll be singing the "Winnie the Pooh" theme during a wedding celebration. Especially when it's in the middle of the Best Man's tribute to the groom. It was the groomsmen singing the song (it being one of our old in-jokes, since Rich's only contribution to the song is doing the echo: "Winnie the Pooh - POOH!") and Heath called up a S'toon friend Keegan and I to help sing.
I declined saying anything when it was an open mic, although I did have something prepared.
So I'll say it here, since I found it to be better written than said just to give the couple the impetus to kiss:
Rich and I have known each other since Grade 9 back in Moose Jaw. We happened to be very good friends in the group that was the guys in those days.
Rich and I, back in Grade 12, shared an Economics course, in which we made the following bet:
The first of the two of us to make a million dollars first wins.
There was no ante per say, just a friendly competition in who would becoma a millionaire before the other.
I was planning on going to business school and becoming an investment banker. He had his sights set on pharmacy and engineering a drug that would cure the world and make him money.
I must admit, Rich seemed to take a strong and commanding lead when I dropped out of business school after two years. Especially when I figured I wanted to try journalism for a career.
The playing field became level again when Rich dropped out of university, and decided to go into bible school. Heck, I might have theoretically shot ahead in leaps and bounds after this development.
We still honoured the bet, even if it was going to take us many lifetimes to become millionaires. It could still happen, if I took over the CTV Evening News, or if Rich got into tele-evangelism.
Now, ten years later, Rich and I are in jobs we didn't think we'd ever aspire to, both of us managing in the retail/service industry. Him in Wendy's, me in RadioShack.
It will now take eons to make our bet anything more than a huge pipe dream.
Still Rich seems to have found someone to share his life with, a companion and lover for many future years.
And that's something he, and I, would be willing part with our filthy stinking riches for.
God bless you, Rich. May you and Leah have many memories and happy times in the years to come.
I love you, man.
* * *
A-Lo wasn't able to get out of work for the ceremony/speeches. But she was able to be my date for the barbeque afterwards.
So I drove by my aunt's house to get the present and change, then went to pick up A-Lo.
She had given me directions to get to her place ("Take the left at 24 Ave. Turn right immediately, and I'm right there."). Now, I'm decent getting around, and I can follow directions pretty well.
But I thrive on landmarks. If A-Lo had simply said, "You can turn right at McMahon Stadium. You know? Where the Stampeders play?", I would have been super good-to-go. Instead of straining for a 24th St. sign and almost missing it.
Since there WAS a Stamps game (against Saskatchewan, which definitely explains all the green and white t-shirts I saw in Chinook Centre that morning), parking was horrible. I just parked in the back of the house, hoping that is was, indeed, A-Lo's place.
She answered the door, so, yes, I was at the proper address.
She looked stunning in a brown summer dress. Of course, when she asked me if it was appropriate, I was taken off-guard, and said, "Yeah. You look fine," instead of properly complimenting her.
I'm such a spaz. Eh, at least I wasn't all, "Damn, girl! You look FIIIINE!" I'm an understated spaz, as opposed to an overstated one.
We went for gelato before going to the barbeque.
It took us a bit of time to find the parksite. We had to do a bit of walking from the car, since I forgot which site number we were going to.
I had changed into a black T and my Jerichoish shiny green overshirt. Seriously, we'd have missed the campsite if someone hadn't noticed the huge Bay box I had under my arm. Because you certainly couldn't tell by my attire that I had been to a wedding.
At least I had A-Lo as a distraction.
"God, who the hell's the spaz in the shiny gree- DAAAAMN! The girl looks FIIINE!"
It was a fun evening, with A-Lo and I mostly hanging out with the people I knew: Heath's girlfriend, his sister and occasionally, when they weren't doing stuff, Heath and Perry.
Seriously, judging by their expressions, it was a pretty long day for the groomsmen. Apparently, they had been crapped upon for nobody telling them they were in charge of getting ice for some reason or another.
Ah, yes, a saving grace to not being part of the wedding party. (Although my time as a groomsman has been pretty smooth. At Kingston's wedding, the guys just hung out for a while beforehand. Heck, I even had time to walk down Victoria and get a haircut. Seriously, my only obligations seemed to be "Be there for Kingston if he needs anything. Dance with any single girls at the reception. Hang out with some very cool people in the wedding party.")
It closed up pretty early, mind you. No dance, and people were leaving at 10:30.
"Pfah!" I thought to myself. "What the hell's this? I came from an Irish wedding last week where I got home at 3:30 am? And now everyone's leaving while there's still light?"
A-Lo had other plans, though. A friend of hers, Erinzona, was in town on vacation. And was having a party in an Irish pub downtown.
Erinzona, conveniently, was living in Arizona. I only called her that due to A-Lo writing in her day planner: Erin - Arizona - phone number
Me: "Hey, you should just change your name to Erinzona."
Her: "No thanks."
Me: "You could do it subtly. Add Zona as a second middle name."
Alas, I wasn't able to explain my plans for adding my grandfather's middle name to my own, just so I could be Kyle Robert Edwin Jago. Or, as spelled out my my initials, backwards, JERK. As it is, I'm already JRK. So, really, adding Edwin in there isn't too much of a stretch.
Also, which driving around with A-Lo, I seemed to have my driving groove fully functional. Yup. I haven't driven in a full year (and it's been four since I've had a full-time car), and I was still able to flawlessly parallel park on a one-way Calgary downtown street, right in front of the gelato place.
Got home at 1:30, crashed, and woke up with EJ saying, "Let's go. I can to go to Edmonton early."
Seriously, there's nothing more adrenaline-rushing that drving with my speed-freak sister on the highway. Travelling at 140 kph, with her reaching into the backseat for her makeup kit.
I was trying, subtly, to get into the driver's seat, once she started drifting into other lanes on the highway.
"EJ, do you want me to drive?"
"No, I'm fine."
Damn. Okay, how do I NOT beat her over the head and commandeer the vechicle?
(There. Now you're not the only family member I mock on this site, Brade.)
Got in to Ed safe and sound, though.
* * *
Horribly, HORRIBLY pissed off at my boss today, when I found this week's schedule. (Is this starting to become a recurring problem? Is there a time when I'm NOT beating this into submission?)
There was a note today saying, "Anyone who booked this Friday and Saturday off have been denied. I'm expecting a very busy weekend and need everyone at the store."
My reply? "Look, fuckwad (okay, that was in my head). I've missed a family wedding for your scheduling already this month. When I told you about these weddings A MONTH AND A HALF AGO, and MADE SURE TO WRITE THEM ON THE CALENDAR, AS WELL AS CONSTANTLY REMINDING YOU that these are NOT just larks and that I want Saturdays to sleep in, but that these are IMPORTANT weddings I am going to.
Now I am going to go to the wedding on Saturday. The wedding I'm photographing. That my friend has asked me to do a year ago.
What I am NOT going to do is try to find a replacement for the shift that I booked off a looong time ago. If you want someone to work a shift I booked off, you can find someone yourself.
Since this long weekend has been in the books for an entire year, you should have told me you'd deny my day off a lot longer than the week beforehand.
There's two options: Either you can find someone to come in on Saturday, or you can run the store with three people. Either way, I am NOT coming in on Saturday.
If this constitutes a reprimand or whatever the hell you call your screw-up, so be it. I'm tired of this shit.
It happened at the bginning of the month. I missed a family wedding. It happened last week, and I found someone to work for me, even though I shouldn't have had an obligation to do that. If it's happening again this weekend, you can find yourself a new assistant manager."
A little more polite, I guess, but that was pretty much the message I left on his cell. I'll be talking to him tomorrow about that.
* * *
I've been thinking about killing this journal.
Not in the terms of letting it die, but about moving towards a full blog instead of a Diaryland shell.
Anybody hear any feedback on Blogger.com?