Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Crooked Crane Game is a winner

Some of you will know this, but most of you won't; I'm a Halloweenie. It's an inherited passion, passed down through the Gilberts. Yes, Grandma, Mom and I all have a love of the gruesome holiday. Since I can remember, we decorated the house, dressed up, and hit the streets.

It's not about the mountain of candy you can amass with a well planned route. It's not even about the costumes. It's about experiencing autumn. When you step outside on October 31st, it isn't just any night. You can smell it in the air; feel it as the wind caresses your cheek. Some people think the veil between our world and the afterlife become thin enough to pass through. Ghost stories are told, resulting in goose bumps and a tingle down your spine. Myself, I'd say it's the most perfect night of the year. Cool, crisp, fresh. Full of promise.

The start of high school was the end of great Halloweens. You're suddenly too old to trick or treat. The women's section in the Halloween store seems more like a hooker's closet. Far away from friends, bars seem to be the only place to go. Surrounded by strangers who are only thinking about getting drunk (and getting laid), it becomes increasingly hard to have a good time. As for DJ's, while taking requests seems like a good idea, on Halloween it backfires. There aren't a whole lot of festive songs that aren't embarrassingly outdated. Thriller is the greatest Halloween song ever. Monster Mash... should have been allowed to rest in peace.

This Halloween seemed a bit last minute. For months I harassed John about costume ideas. After the Venner visit we had less than a week. I gave up on a couple costume when John told me he likes waiting until the day before to make his. I purchased a dress and declared myself a 50's Hollywood Movie Star. The day of, as he drove us to Walmart, I was offering suggestions ranging from ridiculous to decent. Receiving no feedback, I was fed up by the time we walked past the greeter. Turning to my left, I saw a crane machine.

Knowing John's affinity for them I offered my last suggestion, "You could be a crane machine..." That's all it took, and he was off and running. $30 and four hours later, John had his costume.

Katherine had invited us to join them for Halloween which we did. She and Don were dressed up as Napoleon Dynamite and Deb (the portrait photographer girlfriend). At 9 they decided the trick-or-treaters were done, and we went to the Flight Deck. John won the costume contest and $500. Katherine and I were dead on our feet by the time they announced it at 1 AM but John was all smiles.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Venner Family Reunion

One week after my parents left, it was the Venner's turn! Martin and Rhonda got to wake up around 4:30 to catch an early flight, in order to arrive around 10. John and I (emphasis on I) got our wires crossed the night before about where we were meeting, so after a little confusion and a bit of speeding, we were both at the airport to greet our new guests!

We went out for breakfast and then down to High River. They got to do the grand tour on foot since the weather was more cooperative that week. We took them to the Antique store in town so they could do the "attic walk." When the town grew and the stores took over what used to be the center of town, the antique store began to utilize the top stories of the buildings. Walls that separated the buildings were knocked down and doorways were opened. This allows one to walk through three or four different buildings. One of which, used to be the courthouse. They left the holding cells alone, and jammed all of the old leather seats into the tiny room. There is even a creepy naked red light bulb hanging from the ceiling. My favorite room looks like it was part of a hotel. It is a big, open room with an atrium like area in the roof. The place would be an amazing setting for a Halloween dance. Might have to keep that in mind...

While we were out and about, we checked out the local bakery, which was a big hit. Date squares, peanut butter bars and other tasty treats were purchased and devoured.

Taking a trip up to Banff is a necessity it seems. John's parents were treated to the obligatory shopping spree. Martin in particular seemed to really enjoy that aspect, especially when they found a candy shop making fresh caramel corn and HUGE turtles. The turtle was not my friend, I still have chocolate on the seats of my car which I had forgotten to clean up. John bought my belated anniversary present while we were there. It is a knit sweater with a fleece lining, and holy crap is it warm! Best, most useful gift ever! It came in handy when we continued the drive out to Lake Louise. The temperature was much more tolerable that day, but by no means warm. I was glad to have my new sweater. We took pictures and walked along the edge of the Lake, a feat we wouldn't have dared to do the day my parents were there.

Spurred by some crazy urge, we found ourselves doing a 2.6 km hike up to Mirror Lake. No one had come prepared for hiking on icy trails. I was wearing Uggs... not the hiking shoe of choice. They preformed relatively well compared to Rhonda's running shoes, lol. Love you, Rhonda!

After what seemed like forever walking through a snow covered forest, we eventually reached a frozen-over, Mirror Lake. To add injury to insult, it was more like a pond, and was covered in snow. Martin didn't let that stop him from enjoying the moment. While the rest of of sat and recuperated, he wandered down to the ice and made a snow angel. No one will ever say the Venner's are boring. I was snapping pictures with Rhonda's camera the whole time we were out there, but when it started to snow, however lightly, I decided to put it under my sweater. Only after zipping up did I realize it looked like I had a beer belly. It was, of course, while I was declaring this observation, that two hikers found us.

Nothing very interesting came of that. They hadn't run into anyone in a while and asked us to take a picture of them together, which we did. They also gave Martin inspiration to head back down (we figured they had food in their bags, and we could catch them and "borrow" the food if need be). There was a lot of laughing and slipping on the way back down. Some name calling which is better off forgotten.

As for that night, I only have two things to say: Schanks and drunk Venners are happy Venners.

Unlike my family, John's actually has some extended relatives way out west, here. Martin's sister, Elsie and her husband, Derek, are two. I don't know how long it had been since Martin and Elsie had seen each other, but it was a given that we were going to take a trip up to see them.

The painfully long drive to Edmonton started out even worse after we got on the road. Out of nowhere, the snow flurries turned into a white-out. I'm not a bad driver, and I have experienced snow covered roads (Just ask my college room mates), but I was not up for the responsibility of driving John's family through a storm. I made it to Calgary, bailed off the Deerfoot, and swapped out with John. He had the pleasure of making it the rest of the way through Calgary, before the snow let up.

The perk of this trip was the Edmonton Mall. It is the largest in North America and the fifth largest in the world. We visited a little at the house, but in an effort to burn some time, we all went to the mall. After the boys split from the girls, and the Rhonda and I split from Elsie and Derek's mom, we had an interesting time. Of course, Rhonda and I needed a few more hours, but in that time John managed to turn $5 into $70 at the casino (THERE'S A CASINO?!?!?!) and buy a few pairs of much needed jeans. The guys also checked out the shooting range (this is the only mall men would drag their partners to), but found it lacking. Too expensive, and they had shot more impressive guns than the range provided.

Rhonda and I saw the indoor water park/wave pool. We saw the lagoon with the submarine ride, and we even saw the theme park where the roller coasters were. We missed the Casino since we were on the ground floor and I still have no idea where the shooting range was. We did, however, go in a bunch of jewelry shops to look at the shiny things, and she told me the story of Martin proposing. It was a fun time.

That evening we had dinner with the Edmonton Venners, we carved some mini pumpkins, Elsie came up with a new name for my degree (Bachelor of Fuck-All), and Rhonda and I got to take turns driving the 3 or more hours home while Martin sang in the backseat.

Some where during that week we drove up to Calgary and saw the +15 system. One of the days Rhonda and I finally got to sleep in, then went shopping. We needed some time away from the boys and we were supposed to find a DVD shelf/cabinet/holder. Instead we bought wine glasses, place mats and napkins at Crate and Barrel. We had to go out later with John and Martin to Ikea to find the DVD shelves. That experience could have gone a little smoother, but after we returned the first set (wrong color) and got the right set into the car (we had to put down one of the back seats and squish together on the remaining one to get home) we were good. Rhonda and John put it together while I made my honey BBQ chicken, and Martin held part of the shelf at the last second so he could say he helped. I have to admit, he cleaned the kitchen more than once so I have nothing to complain about... really.

John punished us mercilessly the whole week in a way I will not share, but Martin finally got him back one night. He was checking his blood sugar, and some how, that led to John getting tested. Below 10 means you're not in trouble, but being at the high end is not good. 4-5 is I think. Martin got a 6 something, John got a 9 something, Rhonda got a 5 something, and after being a wuss and dodging the tester a few times I got a 4.7. Martin had had some difficulty taking John's test, and when it was so high, we got a little more than concerned. Martin let him sweat it out for around a half hour until he mentioned that the screw-up could have made it higher. I think John was ready to throttle his dad. The second test produced a much smaller number. John doesn't have to worry about Diabetes just yet.

Once again, I got to drive the folks to the airport in the morning while John was at work. Once again it snowed. Much less than on the way to Elsie's, thank goodness. I probably had them there a little early, but I would rather that, than have them miss their flight. That's the second parental visit we can say we have under our belt. Now we are just waiting for John's mom, Judy, to come out and see us! What do you say, Judy?

P.S. Curt and Kandace, I really would love to have you both come out sometime. Emphasis on you, Curt! I know Kandace is already looking forward to it.

Fisher Invasion

John and I are the only ones in our immediate families living out here in Calgary. John had to leave behind a lot, including his friends. No matter where I went I was going to be leaving someone behind. My parents are in Kansas. My brother and my friends are in Jersey, and my sister is way down in New Mexico. So why not follow love, end up in a different country, and see what there is to see?

Since we moved, our families have been talking about coming out to see us. The first ones to make the trek ended up being my parents. They aimed to come up for Canadian Thanksgiving; the idea being, John would be able to have guilt free time off with my folks! Also, it would be my parents first Canadian Thanksgiving! Now I wish I could give you the precise rundown of what we did on which days, but I failed to journal.

I know my memory's limitations, so I record everything in a journal. The problem is, now that I'm living with another person, and sharing the same bedroom, writing in bed is no longer an option. I don't feel comfortable journaling with a witness, and I'm not mean enough to kick him out of the room while I do. So yeah, I could leave the room, but by the time I get back, John is usually asleep, so I miss valuable cuddle time. "So do it during the day!" you are probably telling your computer. Sorry guys, that won't work either. The journal is also part of my falling asleep ritual. I usually have a ton of useless thoughts running through my head before bed, so the journal allows me to get it all out so I can actually sleep. I'm not sure how I will resolve this issue, so let's continue with the story!

My parents arrived October 9th, via Continental (much to John's disappointment). He was hoping they would fly up in Skywalker, the Mooney. If it had still been summer-ish weather, taking the little plane would have been much faster. Unfortunately, we had a cold snap that week, leading to snow in the mornings.

Snow on a grass landing stip = no stopping. Cold air = ice on the wings.
(Personally, I'm glad they left the flying to a commercial aircraft)

-October 9th was our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY by the way! Congrats to us! Don't worry, we celebrated the day before to avoid any awkwardness. However, this did not stop mom from offering to wear earplugs (the start of many embarassing yet humorous comments).

Now the problem with moving to an unfamiliar location, and then trying to entertain family, is finding stuff to do with them. John and I were not (still aren't) familiar enough with Calgary to properly entertain visitors. We took them to Banff and did a little shopping. Mom and Dad bought us a set of western, wood handled steak knives. Thanks guys! We got to see an Asian tourist wipeout and almost take me with her. John got to learn a few things that no boyfriend deserves to know. He and my parents enjoyed my embarassment as mom began to freely share all sorts of info.

We decided to go check out Lake Louise while we were out that way. It was a first for all of us which made it a little more special. That cold snap made being outside less than pleasurable so the time spent there was short but sweet. We managed to get a couple pictures, and then we ditched.

I had done a little research before they came up, and discovered the +15 Walkway system. The +15 is a covered, elevated walkway system that allows Calgarians to go from building to building without having to go outside during the freezing winter (My parents took pictures which are now on facebook.) We went on the weekend, so we didn't get the full experience. The main path South to North was open, but all of the side walkways were locked.

Since we were there and hadn't done it before, we went to the top of the Calgary Tower. While not as impressive as the CN Tower in Toronto (great memories), the Calgary Tower was still entertaining. They recently put in a glass floor, so we got to look down at the people on the street and the roofs of the shorter buildings surrounding it. Again, the pictures from this are on mom's facebook.

On Thanksgiving, John treated us to a tasty turkey. Mom and I learned a new trick to keep the turkey meat juicy, and we were all impressed with his stuffing. John got a taste of the midwest with the Gilbert Cranberry fluff recipe. He ate a ton of it, so I'm pretty sure he liked it. We took it easy that day. If we did anything besides eat, and do tons of laundry, I don't remember it, haha.

Tuesday morning we woke up to snow. Much to my displeasure, I got to drive my parents to the airport in it. Calgary does not believe in snow plows, apparently, and instead of using salt (it would run into the rivers and kill the fish), they use gravel. This is probably why most Albertans have cracks running across their windshields. We saw cars and SUV's in the ditches along the road and even got to watch one lose control at high speed. Thankfully we arrived at the airport on time and without incident!

Not to anyones great surprise, we survived the first family visit!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The First Days

After crossing the boarder, we still had a few hours of driving left. I was sick and tired of being trapped in the car, so we stopped in High River to look at the apartment. Since there was no furniture there yet, we were going to be spending the night at a hotel in Calgary. John knew the hotel wouldn't let us bring the cat in, and it would be cruel to leave her in the car, so we decided she could stay in the apartment overnight (we were going to be back early the next morning to meet the movers). We dragged up all the kitty junk, and set her up for the night.

Us poor humans got to get back in the car, find something to eat, and then die for the night. We woke up bright and early the next day, a got some bad news AFTER we were dressed for the day. The movers were not going to be at the apartment at the scheduled time. They blamed it on their forklift being broken, but John believes they double booked. The result was a very long day. It didn't help that soon after they got here, it started to rain.

By the time everything was moved in, we were tired. John got to go to work the next day, and I got to start unpacking! After two days, everything had a home, but we are still working on decorating. We spent a day shopping for a mattress for the guest room, picked up a bed frame for our room, got a lamp for the front room and a plant (our second one; first one suffered painful death). Just recently, we started printing and hanging photographs! Most of the stuff in the apartment is John's but that's alright. Shipping my belongings from Kansas to here, would be too expensive, so I'm sneaking it into the country in my luggage, ha ha.

Calgary Roadtrip

After college, and my internship, I was free. There were a few choices of what to do, and to a great many people's surprise I decided to follow John to Calgary. He and I had known for a few months that he was going to be promoted and sent out to Calgary to start up a new office. He was a tech rep for Centimark Roofing in Toronto, and now a Sales Rep in Calgary. With every plus, there is usually a negative, and this was no exception. He was going to be leaving all of his friends and close family.

Luckily, a few people he knew were already out in Calgary; two of his friends from Milton, Katherine and Don Rumford, and three hours to the north, his Aunt Elsie and Uncle Derek.

Just like John, I was going to be leaving all of my friends and family. Before the roadtrip home, to Kansas, I said good bye to my friends. I even did a little roadtrip with a few of them to the Adirondacks. Mom flew to Jersey so I'd have company while driving my car (and ton of junk I'd had at school) back home. We met my brother, for dinner the day before that trip, and I got to say good bye to my hiking, brownie, and tv buddy.

-Fast forward- Mom and I had a fun time speeding cross country, and made it safely.

John and I made plans for him to fly down to Kansas, and we would drive up to Calgary together. That almost didn't happen (for a little while, mom and I thought we'd be doing another trip together) but in the end we picked John up at KCI on July 3rd.

Now this might sound a tad bit unpatriotic, but we set out on the fourth of July. With our hostage in the back seat (my feline friend, Cee Cee), we drove North. It was getting late by the time we hit South Dakota,John was less than thrilled when I asked if we could go see Mt. Rushmore. Being the wonderful guy he is, I was allowed to drag him a little southward to go see this symbol of our nation's pride. I have to say, we were probably the least patriotic people there (a Canadian, and a chick who was fleeing the country to follow love). We watched the video on the presidents, took a few pictures, and then ran like hell to escape before the mob. You can't blame us, it was a one lane road! Being stuck in that would have made it hard to stay on schedule, and we had to be in High River on the 6th so we could meet the movers.

John drove through the night, chugging Rock Star energy drinks to stay awake. I suffered in the passenger seat, forcing myself awake out of stubbornness.

-Energy drinks cannot be good for you; anyone else with me on this?

We eventually stopped at a Super 8, and John was sweet enough to get a room we could have the cat in. We hauled the kitty paraphernalia (litter box, food, water, ...cat) into the room, and she was set. Early in the morning we were reminded why Super 8's kinda suck, and I got to spend a little having a bad reaction to cigarette smoke. After scaring John a bit, I got better, and we got on the road. That was to be our roughest day.

After being sick in the morning, I was hoping to be fine for the rest of the day, but after a long drive on a winding road, I got carsick. The cat, who hadn't faired too well the day before (foaming at the mouth, and regurgitating in my back seat) seemed like she'd become a traveling cat overnight/ That didn't last long, and soon poor John was stuck with two nauseous females.

He handled it extremely well (fed me and let me drive). We were driving diagonally across Montana that day, and there was NOTHING on those roads, so that day lasted forever. As we were getting closer to the boarder, John started quizzing me on what to tell the boarder officers. I went from calm to terrified as we sat in the extremely long line, waiting for our turn. "Did I bring too much stuff? Should I have left the cat? What are we going to do if they turn us away?!?" I knew I wouldn't survive the drive back to Kansas. Then it was our turn. The American officers asked us more questions than the Canadian ones (not much of a surprise there). We were questioned, checked out, and released into Canada! We pulled over, and got a picture of the three of us near the Welcome to Alberta! sign.

And so it begins! The American and the Canadian cohabitation experiment!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Beginning

We dated, online, for two months after the wedding. We texted. Hundreds and hundreds of texts. I owe my parents my first paycheck for the number of texts we sent. We chatted on instant messenger, secretly researched each other via facebook (John gets drunk and sticks out his tongue at cameras), and talked with the assistance of webcams. Insanely romantic, I know. Don't worry, it gets better.

October 8, 2009, I flew up to Canada for the first time. *Thank you, Heather, for driving me to the airport at the crack of dawn.* It wasn't until the plane was taking off, that I realized what I was doing. By the time I finished the thought and had a little panic attack, we were airborne. I was going to a different country, to meet a guy I had only seen in person for two days. I was going to be staying with said individual, for a week! What if he didn't like me? What if I didn't like him?!?!

I got over the worries and started enjoying myself. I even had a fun time in Customs, telling the officer that I was going on my first date with the guy I came to Canada to see. That particular officer got a laugh at my enthusiasm and didn't hassle me. Every one since has given me the evil eye. Once I had gone through customs, and found my bag, the only thing I had to worry about was recognizing John. I had known him for two months, but most of the viewing had been done via crummy webcam. I stepped out into the waiting area, and recognized his smile.

He had a red rose with him. I managed to make it past the endless railing, and gave him a huge hug, immediately followed by a rushed first kiss. That was all me. He smelled great; cologne, leather jacket, and a faint whiff of vanilla from the air fresheners in his truck. He took me to Niagra Falls, the only thing I had requested we do. We ate at Ruby Tuesday, and he played DDR with me at an arcade. We learned how to hold hands and walk together (his right arm goes in front, my left one around back).

He took me into Toronto the next day. We rode the train in, which was unbelievably exciting for me. I had just recently gone on a fabric trip to NYC, and was delighted by trains in general. He planned for us to go to a mall. He hadn't counted on my ability to walk through stores instead of stopping to peruse. He did manage to snap the infamous picture of me in a furry white toque (hat). When we got tired of people, we walked down to the harbor. I dragged him into an antique store we found, and then to the waters edge to relax and wait for dinner time.

John had made reservations in the restaurant at the top of the CN Tower (Yes, it is C N for those of us who weren't born in Canada). It was beautiful and fun. They sold us a picture of ourselves, which we accidentally left in the restaurant. When we realized what had happened, we asked the photography people if we could go back up and get it. Instead, they printed us another copy. Unhappy with the idea of someone taking "us" home, I dragged John back up to retrieve our original. John to this day thinks I was being Dutch, when in reality, I just couldn't stand leaving our picture.

There were many trips between then and now. Valentine's day, Canadian Thanksgiving, Winter break, my birthday, weekend trips just for the hell of it, Easter, and my graduation. All of these trips started with smiles, and ended with tears at parting (John, you big suck). The biggest trip to be, had yet to occur:

Our Road Trip to Canada.


There should always be an introduction. How can the whole story make sense if there is no background information, on which to build? To explain the why, you need to know the whos.

I'm Christina. I've lived in New Jersey my whole life, well, until recently. My best friend in middle school through high school was Corra (Yes, this is relevant to the plot). I'm not going to lie and say we were friends from the start. I thought she was a rival for my beloved band teacher's affection. I loved being one of his favorite students. I was a female trumpet player which was uncommon, and I had a sense of humor. Suddenly, here was another girl, trumpet case in tow, sitting down next to me.

Fast forward, Corra and I had become best friends, and were finally in high school. We had freshman year together, doing marching band. I had given up playing trumpet and was actually in the colorguard. Playing the trumpet had never been a pleasure for me; not like it was for Corra (who wallpapered her room with sheet music). That was the last year we had together. Corra's father had to move for work, so their whole family got uprooted and moved to Michigan. We stayed friends via phone, postcards, letters, and visits. Facebook made it much simpler.

The Big Surprise:

Years went by. Both of us were in our junior year of college, and living our separate lives. One day during a routine check of facebook, I saw a surprising update. "Corra is engaged!" Of course I picked up the phone and called her, and to my surprise, she was serious! This girl had only started dating once she moved out to Michigan, and even then, it was the music that courted her more than the boys. Yes, she had been in relationships, but I didn't think either of us were ready for marriage. I didn't even know she had been dating this particular guy, let alone getting engaged to him!

Side note- I was still dating my high school boyfriend -sweetheart does not apply to that relationship. We had gone waaaay past the honeymoon stage and spent a lot of our time being unhappy.

Back to the call- Her engagement wasn't the only surprise she had for me (NO SHE WASN'T PREGNANT). She wanted me to be her Maid of Honor! I knew we were friends, and I love Corra like a sister, but I thought one of her friends from Michigan would be her choice. Don't get me wrong, I was psyched. We chatted on the phone, and she talked about her *gulp* fiance. It was obvious I was going to have to get out to Michigan to meet the guy and approve.

Long story short, we were all young. Really young. That part still kinda bothers me a little, but they were in love. Corra was a very mature 20, and her fiance was a surprising 19. ((I'm not crazy, right? That is young?)) They were/are still perfect for each other. Corra needed someone who was as mature as herself, with the same values and goals. John was her perfect match. So with my approval given, and wedding plans underway, I went home.

Side note- Home is a fuzzy idea here. Jersey had always been home to me (still is), but my parents had retired to Kansas. That is an incredibly long story that I'm not going to share, and before you ask, "Why Kansas?!?!" I'll tell you. Their extended families ALL live in Nebraska, so Kansas was close enough, but not too close. Plus, my retired airline pilot of a father found them a house on a grass runway with a built in hanger. That's all I'm saying.

The wedding was planned for August 2, 2008, Ann Arbor, Michigan. I had told my boyfriend and he had agreed to come. The routine pre-wedding stuff happened, I met the other members of the bridal party and found out how little I know about weddings. Anyway, it was getting closer and closer to their big day, and I got some bad (at the time) news. Michael wasn't coming.

Michael is another one of those side notes that would turn into it's own blog. I loved him. I really did. He made me crazy, did things I hated, wouldn't do things I liked but I still loved him. Not keeping his promise was the proverbial straw. To comfort me, Corra told me I could dance with her cousin. She was worried about me becoming a wallflower at her wedding reception. I promised her I'd be fine and shrugged it off. I would be what she needed so her big day would be as perfect as we could manage. *Can you say in-laws from hell?*

The Meeting:

The day before the wedding we were having a rehearsal dinner (read BBQ on the back deck). The entire family was there, friends, the usual crowd. The two brides maids and I were pretty close by then. The youngest, Allison, was dating Corra's brother Mike, while Katie was single (by then I was starting to consider myself single). I don't remember much of that day anymore. It saddens me especially since that was the biggest turning point in relationship history. What I do remember is Katie and I agreeing that Corra's cousin was a stud, and that we were going to take turns dragging him onto the dance floor at the wedding. -Sorry Johnathan, but you were just a piece of man meat at the time-

Later that night, when the party was over and it was just family at the house; Corra's father, uncle and cousin all tried to get me to play a card game. I had had a few Mike's Hard Lemonades, and wasn't up for anything but flirting with the cousin. I slid my chair closer to his, and pulled a few classic moves (asking him to explain the rules, looking at his cards, sipping my beverage, and going through his wallet). I flirted shamelessly and had a ball. His name is Johnathan.

The next day I was focused on wedding details. Well, up until it was time to take pictures. For some reason they decided to take them before the wedding (just of the bride, brides maids, parents of the bride, etc). I couldn't get my eyes off Johnathan. He had his camera and was snapping away. I think he got more shots than the wedding photographer. Every smile, I smiled for him.

We went to the church, did the deed, drove to Mill Pond for photos of the newly married couple, then on to the reception. (I realize I'm leaving out a lot, and would love to just go on and on, but all of that would drown out the story I'm attempting and probably failing at telling). Once the wedding party was seated, the scheming started. I feel bad because Allison could only listen and laugh at our plan. Katie and I decided to grab Johnathan and his brother (they were next to each other), and drag them out on the dance floor.

Unbeknownst to us, Johnathan was formulating his own plan and fortifying himself with liquor.

Once dinner was over and the first dance was danced, it was time to set the plan in motion. Katie and I had agreed that she get the first dance with Johnathan. I had no objection to this since I was technically not single. We wove our way through the tables to were the guys were seated. John was ready to go, so he and Katie took off for the dance floor. If anyone was to be described as a wallflower, it would be Dan, the brother. I practically had to shove him off his chair.

-Little did we know, Dan getting the first dance, would be a way for John's family to tease him for months after.... actually it's still going, and might even be in a toast at our wedding one day -

The boys were free game after that. Dan got stuck dancing with me for the first song, but after that, it was all John.... and some Fraiser, haha. Johnathan requested a song which has been 'our song,' since he took me in his arms and started crooning in my ear. Fishin' in the Dark still takes me back to that night.

Now some of you might be calling me a cheater at this point, and occasionally I agree, but I did nothing with him that I wouldn't do with a brother. Sure, the holding me close would have been awkward if we were related, but beyond that, everything was innocent. Even when we attempted to step outside for some fresh air (it was humid and hot), nothing happened. I drank more than I've ever had (not saying much, since I don't really drink), danced the night away, and survived the most dangerous ride home ever. **Never tell a guy's sister that she reminds you of her stepmom. It might be meant as a compliment but is never received as one**

Johnathan had to leave early the next morning to head back to Canada -Sorry, I forgot to mention the most monumental fact that led me to where I am today. John is Canadian- We swapped names and phone numbers so we could keep in touch, but we both figured that night as going to go down as one of the most romantic, life changing nights, to ever lead nowhere. We said our goodbyes and parted with only a (few) hugs and me dodging a few kisses. I'm not going to say I had innocent thoughts that night as I lay in bed, knowing John was just a few floors below me, but I never physically cheated. I refuse to feel guilty.

That night was the nail in the coffin for my relationship with Michael. I explained what happened and how I felt. I was nothing but truthful with him. After much jumping through hoops, mistake making and heart breaking, I was free, but a long way away from my canuck.

And that was the beginning