It has begun…

We left Seattle on Jet Blue’s red eye flight – leaving 12 p.m., arriving New York at 8 a.m. Jet Blue is a pretty good airline, and it was the first time I’d flown them. Flying is still a cattle call, but at least Jet Blue made some of those ignominies more bearable. Justine took an Ambien and slept OK, and I, even with my sleeping super powers didn’t get a ton of rest. Her dad picked us up early and we spent day napping, lounging and generally trying to feel human again. On Friday morning, I’d gotten up at 5:15 a.m. for work, so my day was spent trying to act normal. I’m always working on a sleep deficit, so two days with little to no sleep made the day feel like one heck of a hangover. I have decided that I’d rather be hung-over than operating on 4 hours of sleep (6 hrs doesn’t bother me though.)

That night we went to her parents beach cabana at their beach club (which is different than a country club, in that a country club is NOT on the water and usually has water.) We had a small get together with two of her high school friend, their husbands, her parents and two of their best friends. It was great to talk to these people that I’d heard so much about, and it was equally great to get a glimpse into the country club part of her personality. It’s long buried, but as with my biker childhood, it’s always there. I found out the phrase “Darien Bitch” to be a very bad combination of words. Very, very bad. I shall never put them next to each other in a sentence unless it’s gangster talk, such as “my ho is from Darien, bitch!”

The next day we went into the city for the day. The intention was to see the sights, then meet her family for dinner. Once we got into the city, we headed to MoMa. It was one of the things that I’ve not managed to do in the few times I was in New York, or at least the top of my lengthy list. Luckily, it was the same day as the Gay Pride parade. The parade was very close to MoMa (and runs what appears to be a very large part of the city.) One thing that struck me was how diverse the crowd was, or rather how not diverse. It appeared to be largely white, affluent people. Granted the part we were at was in the middle of Manhattan, as opposed to Greenwich Village. I think it would be safe to say it was a more “straight” crowd than we’d see in Seattle.

Because of the parade, MoMa was not very crowded, which was my biggest fear. Even though in New York, I detest crowds. I bought a membership because it only cost me a few $$ more when I figure the tax benefits. Moma was great – it was everything I’d thought it would be – i saw many great paintings I’d only read about, including many that had lived on my computer desktop for months at a time. The current touring exhibit was for Richard Serra, an artist that worked with metal and other industrial materials. One of the exhibits was a room containing four large sheets of metal at 90 degrees to each other, making an X of sorts, with each leg of the X in on corner of the room. I suppose I’m just not savvy enough to appreciate his commentary on the permanence of materials of modern life, or of his comments on the futility of the working man, or whatever, but really, WTF?

After we left we went to Times Square, which was interesting enough, then took a cab to Ground Zero. I didn’t know what to expect, or how I’d respond, but I didn’t grieve for it as I thought I might have. Afterwards we went to Trinity Church, then to Wall Street. Across from the NYSE was Town Hall, where George Washington was sworn in as President – I found that to be an unexpected treat, a surprise of knowledge I wasn’t expecting. Oddly enough, there was a group of midwestern tourist that held hands outside of the NYSE and said a prayer. I would have expected that at ground Zero, but the NYSE? I suppose it’s one way to get your stock price up.

After that we went to the iconic J&R Music world to buy a wireless router for her father’s computer. Frankly I was underwhelmed buy the place. Fry’s still has my heart. We walked to East Village for dinner, which was quite nice. Her father drove us all back to CT, with three different women telling him three different ways to go. We drove by the (or a) Bada Bing, but I wasn’t allowed to stop, nor would they drop me off until the next morning.

The next morning we lounged about the house (and slept) heavily. Later Justine drove me around the Darien showing me where she grew up, and stopped hating me for putting the words Darien & Bitch together. Once back at her house I took a nap in the sun while her Justine and her mother chatted. Apparently my random twitching while I fall asleep worried her mother – she asked in all seriousness if I was OK. Her sister drove us to the airport (thanks Alexa), despite Van Wyck traffic. We got there thinking we had a 6:30 flight, when in fact it was a 8:30 flight., and our tickets were for Mr. Cain Greg and Ms. Divett Justine. Luckily the ticketing agent noticed the problem while searching for us in the database and escorted us through security. While waiting to get our seat assignments, Justine said “Look at that woman.’ It was my first look at our viking overlords. She was about 6’2”, lean and well muscled, blonde as can be and gorgeous. I am glad Justine pointed her out to me, as I would have never seen her otherwise. I’ve only got eyes for my betrothed. This woman was a graphical example of how the Vikings were able to conquer so much of the world, from Ireland to Kiev. Iceland is, after all, the land of Vikings – it was settled by vikings in 870 A.D. and never conquered by others. Frankly, after seeing this woman, I welcome our Viking Overlords.

As we were waiting for our flight, we found that a party of something like 60 high school kids were going to be on our flight. Yikes, yikes and more yikes. It ended up not being a big issue, as they were very well behaved and/or slept the entire flight. This was one half of a group of musicians playing abroad in France, and later, Belgium. The first girl to sit by us was very well spoken, and the source of all of our information. She swapped seats with someone traveling with her group so she could sit buy some boy she had a crush on. The second boy played the bassoon , and he slept the entire meal. I’m glad he slept the entire meal, as Justine spent quite a bit of the flight, um… crowding him. It just didn’t look proper. The in-flight meal was Reindeer Meatballs, and by gum it was the best reindeer meatballs I’ve ever had.

We arrived at our hotel around 9 a.m. (Hotel Reykjavik Centrum.) The hotel is just two years old and when they were building it, during the excavation found Viking ruins underneath, now part of a museum and historical exhibition. Justine had called ahead and told them we were getting married, so they let us check in early. We grabbed a very quick 90 minute nap, and I woke up feeling like hell. I think I’d rather be hung over than sleep deprived. We grabbed coffee to get closer to normal, and had a lovely lunch near the compact city center. Once done we had to get Justine’s divorce papers finalized, or authorized, or something. Once that was done, we headed to the Magistrates office, which was very close to the hotel, at least according to the front desk woman. When we arrived, we found out that we were in the wrong place by quite some measure. We had 10 minutes to get where we needed to go, and had to take a taxi. The few taxi’s we’d seen in Iceland were all Mercedes, as was this one. Our 5 minute taxi ride cost us $15/US. Yikes.

Once we got to where we needed to be, we were greeted by a lovely woman that Justine had been corresponding with – Johanna Bjorg Hallisdottir. She was very helpful, and quite distraught that we didn’t have the original copies of our birth certificates. She wasn’t distraught as petty bureaucrats are, but rather as someone who really cared about making sure this happened. Once she got the OK from the lawyer to use copies, we found out we didn’t have the money to pay for the ceremony. They don’t take US currency or Credit Cards, only Icelandic kronas. Every guidebook has said that plastic is the way to go, but apparently not when it comes to making a woman honest. At this point, we are both thinking we aren’t every going to get married. I started telling Justine how we’ll just get married someplace else, don’t jump off the ledge, etc. However, the woman behind the counter said she’d just e-mail us the banking information and we could send payment later. What a great country and great people. I welcome our Viking Overloards.

We met the lawyer and set up my video camera so we could get a video of the event. Then, as the ceremony started, we were asked to stand. So our video consists of the very soft spoken Icelandic Judge (or whatever) with a heavy accent reading to us and our bellies getting videotaped. And since I’m the only one of us with a belly, it was just my belly. The ceremony was very nice, and very unique and very moving. The part where Justine promised to Obey, obey and obey some more really meant a lot to me. She then gave me my ring with the inscription “one ring to rule them all.” Oh – wait it says “one love to rule them all.” Since I’m not allowed to take it off, i’ll just have trust that’s what it says.

So now we are married. She’s not quite sure what she’s changing her name to – Justine Louise Cain, or Justine Divett Cain, or just Candy Cain (her idea, not mine.) And i was wrong. Iceland isn’t frigid at all. :)