When we were engaged, we got a lot of advice from friends and family on how to “do” various things related to the upcoming nuptials. From how many petals we needed for the flower girl to what Segue service we should use in port during the honeymoon, everyone had some gem to share with us.
One of our favorites, however, was the sage words of an ER doc to Hubs, during a routine weekday shift. Everyone in the ER was mightily interested in our plans, mostly because Hubs had been the hospital’s most eligible bachelor until I snagged him. How the golden boy was getting married, and where, and with what sort of entourage, these subjects were constantly being broached and re-broached.
It’s important to note here, that Hubs’ demeanor was one that made him a favorite not just to the common man, but also to the doctors, even administrators, at the hospital. Here was a kindred spirit. If he wasn’t raking in hundreds of Gs now with his thriving private practice, he would be, eventually.
So, the story goes that Doc Awesome is interested in Hubs’ plans for the honeymoon. And rightly so. No self-respecting South Jerseyian has anything really new or exciting to say about the ceremony. If you’re not eloping, you’re getting married in your wife’s church (probably Catholic), and your reception is either at a fire hall, or at some large, crystal-studded reception hall. For the wedding party, her cousins and your friends are the backups in case you don’t have enough siblings to go around. End of story. Same for everyone. So the honeymoon is really the interesting part.
“We’re going on a cruise,” Hubs tells the doc. “We actually just finished booking the location. Western Caribbean. It was a gift (at that point in the wedding plans and payments, we might have been able to afford lunch on the Spirit of Philadelphia. If we had scrimped for a while. And not eaten for about three weeks.), for which we are eternally thankful.”
“Oh,” replies the doc. “I love cruises! My wife and I go on one at least once a year. Caribbean is fantastic.” Right here, we get a beautiful tableau of what a family man this guy is, especially compared with many of his colleagues. He and his wife take a vacation, together, at least once a year. Hubs leans in because this advice is going to be taken seriously. (More seriously than, “four years from now, you’ll probably be divorced,” for example. New Jersey is filled with bitter people.)
“Here’s what you should do,” the doctor says, extrapolating all over himself. “Tell your wife not to pack any clothes.”
After a brief pause (both while this story was taking place, and later, when it was being told), the doc continued (much to my relief).
“Don’t pack any clothes. When you get on the ship, just buy ’em all for her. Buy everything she’ll need once you’re there. She’ll freakin’ love it.”
I’m pretty sure Hubs did a good, diplomatic job of responding and then removing himself from the conversation. The thing is, while I would have loved a whole new trousseau, bought in a tropical paradise, we were down to eating baked beans and peanut butter sandwiches on a regular basis. We could spend several hours discussing the intricacies of a good bowl of Ramen. Nearly everything in our wedding was gifted to us, from many wonderful family members, and we were still just squeakin’ by. A vacation, any vacation, was already an occasion for supreme joy. And a week-long cruise, I mean, come on. We were raised on camping trips and houses in Wildwood, stuffed the gills with aunts and cousins. The cruise was going to be way more luxury than we could even comprehend.
It is an idea that has remained with us. From the slough of suggestions garnered though the whole wedding experience, this was one of the few that was extravagant, positive, and (kind of) helpful. We filed it away. And the time has come to brush it off and make good use of it.
Hubs has entered this new decade in his life just brimming with fabulous ideas. Two weeks ago, “let’s get away to San Antonio, even if it’s just for an overnight.” Fantastic, consider it done. One week ago, “when we’re there, let’s go out to a truly nice dinner, one we have to dress up for.” Love it. Two days ago, “you know, I don’t really fit into any of my slacks (all sinew and muscle, now), and you haven’t bought a dress in a while. Let’s each get one ‘nice’ outfit when we’re in San Antonio. We’ll have a fancy shopping trip for our fancy dinner.”