Getting Married

Part I: Getting it Done My Way
(well, almost)

The primary thing that I had going in my favor was that Melissa wanted to get married sooner rather than later. Had it not been for that and the fact that she intends for us to have an honest-to-goodness wedding (with people and rings and everything) sometime in the next few months, I probably would not be able to say that I got married while wearing shorts. So here is how it all went down.

(We've got somewhere to be tomorrow)

The relationship that Melissa and I have shared to this point has been fairly atypical. Rather than try to explain how things came to be the way they were, I will just say how they were around the middle of May. She was going to stay with my parents for a week while I went back to Alaska to visit friends and take care of some things. After I returned we planned to spend a few days in Pullman before driving out to Illinois and North Carolina to see her family. We had more or less decided to get married sometime in July after we were back in Pullman.

I left for Alaska and was enjoying my time there. A couple of days before I was scheduled to get back into Boise, I talked to Melissa on the phone. Over the course of the conversation, I discovered that she had been talking with her mom and my mom and now she was thinking it might be nice to get married before we drove out east to see her family. This was a little sooner than we had talked about, but I did not figure it made that much difference in practice. It was at that point that I said the fateful words, "I'll leave the exact date up to you."

Melissa met me at the airport in Boise a couple of days later and on the drive home she said, "Oh, by the way, we have someplace to be tomorrow at 10am."

The Night Before
(A Short Engagement)

What I have failed to mention so far is that I had never really asked Melissa to marry me yet. We obviously had talked about getting married and even about when it might happen, but we were not officially engaged. She was getting a little impatient with me (perhaps understandably) and expressed a willingness to take things into her own hands by asking me (in front of my parents, no less). I managed to avoid that situation by convincing her to be a little more patient with me. These things take time, you know.

My parents did not get home from work until fairly late so we ate dinner even later. I needed a haircut and after my dad had cut my hair I took a shower (I figured it was better to take a shower the night before when I was going to have to get up so early in the morning). After that, Melissa and I went out to the living room to talk. We ended up laying on the floor talking and it was about 1am when I asked her to marry me. She said yes and then asked me to marry her and I said yes as well. I figured a 10 hour engagement was plenty long enough.

Getting Married
(Better Bring Cash)

If things had been done my way completely, it would have been just Melissa and me with the Judge. I figured that since were going to have a wedding (with people and rings and everything) later, others could see it then and that would be fine. Idaho does not even require witnesses, so that would not have been a problem in principle. In practice, my parents knew when I was getting married before I did. Melissa had mentioned to them that if they could get the time off work and were interested, they could accompany us to the courthouse. When she told me this, she acted as if she really didn't think that they both would have canceled a meeting with the President of the United States to be there. I suspect she was not so naive in this regard as she tried to come across. At any rate, the only way my parents were not going to be there is if I told them they could not be, and not even I am that cruel.

I hauled myself off the couch around 9am. While my mom was worrying about how much to dress up, I just wore what I usually do: socks, sandals, shorts, a t-shirt, a jacket and a hat. On this particular occasion it happened that my shorts and shirt were dark blue like my hat and jacket, but that color coordination was more an accident than anything else. I figure if you are going to get married, you might as well be comfortable.

It costs $53 dollars to get married at the courthouse in Caldwell, $28 for the marriage license and $25 for the judge. They do not take credit cards or checks, so we needed to bring cash. I don't like to pay a fee to get cash from an ATM so I tried to figure out where I could go. Fortunately I remembered a WinCo Foods grocery store on the way to the courthouse. They seem to be good about having an ATM with no transaction fee, so we stopped there and I got the cash we needed.

Some of those who read this may know that I have a tendency to take my backpack everywhere. This day was no exception. Some of you may also know that my backpack is filled with a fair number of little tools and miscellaneous items that might come in handy at some point. (Really, they might!) I discovered that Canyon County courthouse has tighter security than an airport when my first attempt to get in resulted in failure. I had to take a tiny little multitool back out to my pickup. My second attempt met with success and Melissa and I proceeded up to the second floor in what seemed to be the worlds smallest public elevator. It was close with just her and me; the two other people made things especially cozy. Suffice it to say, we took stairs on the way down. (Ironically, it was one of the widest stairwells I have ever seen.)

My parents were waiting for us on the second floor and they continued to wait for us while we went to the County Recorder's office to get the license. After succesfully getting the license, we went to another office. I do not remember what it was called, but I do remember that the signs for where to go said "Divorce" and "Child Support" but there did not seem to be a sign which said "Marriage." I'm not sure why that was the case. We made the arragements to have a judge marry us and were assigned to Courtroom #2.

While we were waiting outside the courtroom, the inevitable picture taking started. Perhaps at somepoint I will get scans of pictures my mom took which show me exhibiting my typical reluctance to be framed that way. Fortunately, that did not last too long as we were invited into the courtroom to await the judge. Judge Gary D. DeMeyer was good enough to invite us up to the front of the courtroom where we stood while he read a little concerning what we were getting into. Melissa managed to avoid crying and I managed to avoid feeling the need to beat a hasty retreat out the back door so I guess that portion was a success. We said our yes's (somehow it never happened that I had to say "I do") and he said go ahead and slap a kiss on her, and it was done. Okay, that's not quite what he said, but we kissed and I guess that meant we were officially married.

For those of you who are still doubting the truth of this narrative, I offer as evidence the following three pictures:
    Melissa and Me with the Document
    Marriage License
    Marriage License and Roses

The Aftermath
(Lunch, Anyone?)

In a somewhat anticlimatic finale to the whole business, my parents took Melissa and me out to lunch at JBs in Meridian. While we were there, more pictures were taken and I have to admit that at least one of them was not all that bad. From there it was back to my parents' to pack up and head to Pullman.

(The story of how my wife drives 90 miles an hour in the middle of the night around blind corners while half asleep can wait for another time after my mind has recovered more fully from the trauma.)

(Why Does No One Believe Me?)

Despite the picture evidence I offered above, I found that many people would not believe the truth of the story. For some reason it was easier for some people to believe that I had gone through all the trouble to find a stand-in wife and judge, a courtroom, and then forge the wedding certificate.

Part II: Getting it Done Her Way

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