The weeks leading up to
(and the next couple afterward) were among the busiest of my
Psychologists have found that stress can be caused by either good or
events. Either represents a significant change in one's life, and
that is all that is apparently required for it to be stressful.
roughly a four week period, I managed to have more than my fair share
Specifically, I was wrapping up
degree at LSU. This meant I was defending my thesis just before
I was also driving out to Texas for job interviews while I was still
my last couple of courses during that summer semester. More
Somewhere near the end of July
of a school in Texas called me at home and asked if I had accepted a
yet. I had sent out applications though I was entertaining the
of a position locally, but I hadn't signed anything yet, so I said no.
She explained that she had a position open teaching biology and
We talked for a bit more, then we planned for me to come out there on
to see the school.
A short while later, we headed
out to Texas
(again) with Chrissie (my then-fiancee, now ex-wife), this time to
the school and meet the faculty. We actually ended up on a
and scavenger hunt during the day, and it wasn't until that afternoon
I was interviewed. Well, after the interview and some discussion
between the staff, I was offered a contract.
The next day, Thursday, I went
to a new
employee's orientation at the high school while Chrissie waited at the
hotel room. She had not found a job teaching yet, so throughout
day she had been making calls to find us a place to live. When I
got off work, we headed over to the best-sounding apartment before the
leasing office close, and we signed for it pretty quickly. That
I called another teacher I met earlier who had also just started in the
district. From her I obtained information about local banks,
to get a Texas driver's license, inspection sticker, and registration,
and so on.
The next day, Friday, I
my orientation, which I won't go into detail about here. When it
was over, I hitched a ride with another teacher over to the Pantry, a
restaurant, to meet the principal of my school and the other new
for lunch. She extended the offer the day before, but I didn't
I would still be in town at noon. Chrissie was running errands
over the place, but she eventually joined me at the Pantry where, by
time, more than half the staff had joined us.
The rest of the teachers were
the amount we were trying to (and for the most part getting)
When Chrissie told them the next item on our agenda for the day was to
obtain a marriage license from the courthouse, they asked when we were
getting married. Chrissie had called a justice earlier so they
about died laughing when she said Wednesday night, which was also the
day of school. Someone (and I wish I could remember who for
sake) suggested we get married at the school. We all laughed, but
before long everyone was throwing ideas out about how to make it work.
Naturally, I was a bit hesitant
to it at first because I hardly knew these people, I would be living in
the district, here were all these kids I had to teach going to my
but still, it wasn't so crazy that I didn't think it my be fun.
began suggesting where to get the cake, how to get flowers, where they
could perform the ceremony, and what the kids could do. Julie
had a minister she wanted us to use. It was going to be that the
kids were going to actually be there and the wedding would take place
the school day, but eventually that was thought better of so that the
wouldn't have to be there if they didn't want and there could be no
After lunch we all sort of
split and they
headed back to the school while Chrissie and I headed off to handle a
other things before hitting the road to head back home to Louisiana,
we didn't actually arrive until 2am. I stayed over at Chrissie's
parents' place that night, but then went home to my folks' where I
told them in person about the wedding plans. Up to this point
knew that we were getting the license, but that was all.
Chrissie was to come over that afternoon to help load some things in
parents' truck, but it was raining that day, so we couldn't do that
things getting wet. As a result, she stayed at her place until
next day. In the meantime, I got down to serious packing .
On Sunday I headed back to
Texas with whatever
I could fit in my car that wouldn't melt in the heat. I couldn't
unload the car at the apartment until Tuesday when our lease
On Sunday and Monday night, I stayed at another teacher's place.
She had been nice enough to extend the offer before I headed back for
things, and I ended up having to take her up on it.
The next day, Monday, I went to
for some beginning of the year training, although I actually spent most
of the day with the previous science teacher who was moving out of the
state shortly. She filled me in on the curriculum and how things
ran day to day.
Tuesday was more of the same:
and such, but I also spent the latter half of the day running around
to get everything else taken care of with the wedding. The main
for me on that day was to get a tux. I meant to get one the night
before, but I didn't get out until late because I was so busy at the
We called a few places, but didn't have any luck finding any that would
still be open close by. However, the principal's husband had a
and happened to be my size. The plan was to pick it up later that
afternoon from her house, but in the meantime I still had to meet with
Well, Chrissie was supposed to
from Louisiana with her parents and all our stuff and be at the
around 3pm. I was to pick her up and go see the judge about how
wanted the ceremony to be. Unfortunately, I found only an empty
I sat around for a while trying to figure what to do. Eventually
it got close to 4, so I went to the courthouse. She was very nice
and we talked about the ceremony and the order of the events (vows,
I got back to the apartment
and Chrissie still wasn't there. I was beginning to get worried,
but I had brought the computer inside by this point, so I just worked
this narrative for a while. Eventually 5:30 was coming really
and the office of the apt complex was getting ready to close. I
if I left Chrissie wouldn't have a key and there was no way to hide
It was a pretty tough situation. Thankfully, at about 5:35
and her family arrived. All I had time to do was kissed her hello
and explain that I was off to get a tux. I ran over to the
house and thankfully the tux was just about perfect. I thanked
and returned to the apartment to help move our stuff in.
What I didn't find out until I
was that the reason why Chrissie and her family were late was that
moving truck had broken down en route. They had to get another
then unload the original one and re-pack everything into the new one
they could get on the road again. Incidentally, the moving
didn't charge them for the rental after all their trouble.
Finally, Wednesday was the
first day of
school for the kids as well as my wedding day. Mostly the school
day was devoted to things like team-building (the school was very much
into cooperative learning) and the usual house-keeping details like
schedule changes and such. Meanwhile, the younger grades (e.g.,
high kids) were putting up decorations in a couple places around the
Specifically, they were setting up tables and things in a large, open
at the front part of the school for the reception. Also, nearer
back of the building was a small auditorium that looked curiously like
a church. It had a sort of a stage that looked more like an altar
than something for a performance. In other words, a perfect place
for a wedding.
Somewhere during the scheduling
of this, the principal came in there and told the kids, "I know by now
some of you must have realized that something is going on around
Well, I'll tell you what that is," she said. "Last Friday Alex,
some of the other facilitators, and myself were having lunch. We
found out he was going to get married on Wednesday. We couldn't
let he and his fiancee get married too simply, so we all threw some
around and before you knew it we had a wedding planned."
The kids all were like,
getting married... here?" It was really funny to see the looks on
their faces. One girl asked me if I was nervous. I said,
yeah. I mean, it's the first day of school, isn't it?" She
was like, "But you're getting married, aren't you a little
I said, "Well, it's your first day of school too. Aren't you
She looked at me like I was crazy.
It was a really weird
For some strange reason I was at a Zen-like plateau of peace.
I'm really psychosomatic, yet I felt nothing. My wedding was just
being planned and carried out without me having to worry about a
Toward the end of the day was the only time I started getting
I was worried that I wasn't going to know when to do what during the
There was no rehearsal, of course, so there was no way to know. I
found out later that the judge provides the cue for when to do what
"I believe the bride and groom have their own personal vows," etc.).
The last hour before the
wedding was the
most hectic of all because during that time I was running around trying
to get the marriage license to Chrissie, get the ring, and get
lined up. Everything else was pretty well taken care of, but I
wanted to be sure because I had much more of an emotional stake in it
everyone else. I'm sure if something had gone big time wrong it
have been funny for everyone else, but it would have simply ruined my
Thankfully, everything turned
The tux fit perfectly and my boutonniere actually came from a bouquet
someone sent to the school for the first day. Everything was like
that in that everything just fell into place. All of the
came from the husband of the junior high math teacher, whose husband
a theatrical event producer and apparently had a lot of the necessary
on hand (e.g., a trelace, paper bells, etc.).
The guy from the principle's
the piano for the ceremony. The judge and I took the stage and
wedding march started. A bunch of flower girls from the second
class came out and threw petals. We didn't hire a photographer,
we ended up with maybe a couple dozen rolls of film. Everyone was
taking pictures, including a photographer from the paper (we ended up
the local section the next day).
The reception was very nice as
A lot of people came up and gave us very nice toasts. Someone had
donated a cake. Not an actual wedding cake, of course, but a
decorated one for the occasion. We even had a DJ, one of the
from the school was a professional, so he came in and set up his
and did his thing. I heard afterwards that he ended up getting a
booking out of it.
It really turned out to be a
to have a wedding. Strangely enough, a few months before this, I
dreamt that I had a similar wedding experience. In my dream, I
up at my future in-laws' house and was taken over to my wedding, which
was all set up and ready to start without me. It sounds like an
dream, but think about it, would you rather agonize over the planning
just show up and be surprised? I know which I was happiest with.