Stupidity

I have had a  week to contemplate this.  A week in which I have howled when trying to dress myself and whimpered when rolling over in bed.  If I can’t get my son to pull me out of a chair, I have to take a couple of breaths before I tackle it for myself.

As for getting into and out of the car – do you have any idea what that twisting motion can do it you?  I rode to work on a scooter for a couple of days, as sitting upright as though riding a kitchen chair was preferable to the slouched position in the car – once you had actually levered yourself into it.

Wearing trousers is a problem, and even threading feet into knickers is a challenge.  I just throw food at the cats now – I can’t bend over to nicely dollop food in the bowls.  They seem to cope.

It’s frustrating when I thought that I was going to do so much this weekend.  Finish the weeding for a start and perhaps plant some tomatoes.  I can crawl around on my knees, but how will I get up afterwards?  I had to drive up to the Barossa Valley today to conduct a wedding ceremony.  At least I do that standing up but unwinding myself after an hour travelling in the car was not a pretty sight.  Didn’t feel good either.

Putting the lawnmower into the boot of my car was probably not the smartest thing, but trying to lift it on my own with a convoluted lift and twist action defied not smart.  It feels as though my sacroiliac joint will never be the same again.  Yeah I know.  Stupidity.

Weekend Weddings

My weddings  (I am a celebrant) went well last weekend.  The first was in an old mansion that is now used as a Youth Arts Centre.  It was gusty and windy, so the decision was made to move it inside to the central stairwell, with many of the guests gathered around the upper balcony and looking down.  Others were clustered around the bottom.  Ceremonies on stairs can be very tricky as if the photographer is positioned further down the stairs, he or she captures the double chins and those great views up your nose.

I warned the photographer about this aspect, but noticed that this was exactly what she was doing.  She stayed lower on the stairs the whole time.  She was not a professional wedding photographer but a friend of the bride and groom (B&G) whose hobby is photography.  I know that this is a big saving for B&G as they do not have to pay their friend, or if they do it is a cost-recovery amount but so often I have seen that using friends for this task leads to less-than-optimal results.  In part this is through not having appropriate equipment, and in part in not having the experience and understanding enough about positioning, framing, lighting, etc.

After the ceremony, the guests adjourned to the ballroom for nibbles and drinks while the B&G had the family photos.  There was also Bocce, quoits and some form of croquet happening outside for those who preferred more active pursuits while they passed this time away.  All in all, it was very civilised.  The bride looked stunning in an elegant slim-fitting strapless gown with a fishtail train.  The groom, who was in the armed forces, wore his dress uniform.  This was not quite in the style of Prince William, but the Aussie khaki outfit, with various badges, insignia and bits of braid.

The second ceremony was quite different.  It was in a public park on the banks of the River Torrens, and took the form of a handfasting with pagan elements.  It was not a fully fledged pagan ceremony as the bride was concerned that it may perplex her guests.  It took place within a sacred circle which I cast at the beginning of the ceremony and before B&G entered, I ceremonially washed their hands with salt water to cleanse them and wash away the burdens of their every day life so that they might focus on their promises.  I also called upon the gods and goddesses to bless their union.

Before the exchange of vows, I bound their left hands together with a length of ribbon, explaining to the guests as I did so about the ancient ritual of handfasting.  It was initially a form of betrothal and if the couple were still together a year and a day later and chose to remain in the relationship, then they were considered to be permanently married.  Before that however, either was free to leave.  A sort of cooling off period.  The vows, which were quite poetic, were exchanged while the hands were still bound.  We finished the ceremony with a honey mead ritual, involving the B&G sipping from a chalice of Liqueur Honey Mead, which is absolutely lovely.  It tastes like a mixture of chocolate, orange and honey – a form of liquid Jaffas.

This couple were arranging their wedding celebrations on a shoe string and the Bride had done all the catering.  They had taken a small gazebo down to the park and also carried a dining table down there as well.  The food was laid out on this.  On the grass, they had laid out lots of picnic blankets, and on each blanket was a picnic basket.  I think that there were named labels on each basket and inside there were plates, cutlery, glasses etc for each person who was named on the label.  The baskets looked as though they were collected from various op shops.  The wedding guests were therefore clustered around the picnic area on their blankets.

The wedding cake was a large chocolate cake, and B&G had collected a heap of pretty plates from op shops as well – the sort that afternoon tea would be served on.  This was for the cake and each guest could choose the plate that they liked and could take it home with them – a unique form of bomboniere.  A young woman was singing and playing guitar.  She was so slight and skinny but had a powerful voice.  I enjoyed listening to her for the time that I was there.

I didn’t stay too long, and unless the B&G are friends or there is good reason then I don’t stay too long.  My work is done and I don’t like to impose on the gathering.  It took ages to pack up of course as these ceremonies, with their various props and supports for different rituals are a lot of work to set up and then to dismantle again.   I was a bit tired as well and was happy to head for home where more prosaic tasks awaited like mowing the lawn.

I still have to catch up with this couple again as this was not a legal wedding ceremony that I conducted for them.  They did not submit all of their required paperwork to me before the ceremony so I could not marry them.  What I performed was a betrothal ceremony, with careful re-wording throughout.  When their paperwork has arrived from interstate, I will conduct a small private ceremony for them then.

I am off work today as I have a sore throat and laryngitis.  I shall use some of the time to work on the structure of a renewal of vows ceremony, for a couple who would also like to include pagan-influenced rituals as well.  I think that this is a twentieth anniversary, so it is good to see that some unions last the distance and presumably is still going strong.

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A successful marriage is an edifice that must be rebuilt every day. (Andre Maurois)

Two weddings, the laundry and too much water

Somehow seems to be Friday again.  It was a week on the go.  I tore a calf muscle as a participant in the Corporate Cup.  This is an event that aims to improve corporate fitness over a period of two months.  You sign up to do either the short, medium or long route and it is up to you whether you walk or run the distance.  You wear a bar-coded pass and so your effort is timed.  I was doing nicely on my fortnightly attempts and this week was determined to knock some seconds off my previous time.  I only got about 800 metres into my jog/shuffle though before I felt the twang in my calf and folded in a gasping heap.

I was lucky enough to find a physiotherapist with a free slot later that afternoon.  He said ‘Of course you warmed up and stretched first, didn’t you?’  I think that he already knew that I hadn’t but of course my silence said it all.  How silly can you be, especially as after I completed the previous run, I noted how tight my calf muscles were.  The physio used acupuncture on my calf and this is the first time that I have experienced this treatment.  It hurt a little more than I expected, though not unbearably so.  I was impressed with his holistic approach and might see him about some of my spine and back issues.  I see a chiropractor each fortnight, but it just keeps me functioning rather than results in any improvement.  I am not sure if I am expecting too much or not.

I came home last night to find that the power had gone out during the day and that there had obviously been a power surge.  My VoIP device was not working and my electrically operated irrigation system was working and wouldn’t stop!  I didn’t realise this until it was quite dark outside.  I then had to keep stumbling around the side of the house with my little wind-up torch, trying to get a desired response out of the control box.  Nothing worked though, not even turning it off.  I then focussed on the plumbing aspects and tried to pull the lids off the water control boxes that are sunken in the garden.  I was a little hesitant however as I know that they are often home to redback spiders and I didn’t fancy being bitten.  A friend nearly lost her thumb after such and encounter a couple of years ago.

I fiddled around with it all but couldn’t make much sense of it all in the dark.  Finally I turned the water off at the meter, warning the household that there were no showers or toilet flushings unless the meter was turned back on first.  I filled the electric jug up first though so that hot drinks were assured.  This morning, with the benefit of daylight I explored the plumbing control boxes and found some sort-of tap devices that looked as though they controlled the water flow.  I turned them off and the problem seemed to be fixed.  I put an early morning call into the contractor who initially installed the system and left one and then another message on his answer phone, pleading for help.  Given that it looked as though the matter was sort of under control, I went to work.

This afternoon, I arrived home to a very soggy garden and then realised that I had been mistaken and that the drippers and dripped their little hearts out all day.  It was only then that I realised that there was yet another little trap door, partially concealed.  I pulled up that lid and after rummaging around with gloves and a banister brush, found the master tap and turned it all off.  Yay!!  I put in another call the the ansaphone and still have not heard back from the contractor.  At least the water is turned on for the house though.

Through the week I read a blog called Cakes Tea and Dreams written about the intricacies of doing the laundry and various comments were left by people who actually enjoyed doing the laundry.  I just cannot understand this.  Laundry to me is a senseless chore.  I can sort it and throw it into the machine.  So far so good.  Then to have to take it out and hang it up, sorting it out into my preferred hanging system is a CHORE.  Then of course, it all has to be brought back inside again and sorted and folded.  I end up with little piles of undies and socks sitting in the family room, waiting to be carried off to their little homes in the bedroom drawers, or else taken upstairs in young Donald’s case.  Often, he just gets to the top of the stairs and generally chucks them in the direction of his bed.

There are also those work clothes that have to be ironed and they migrate to the ironing basket.  Sometimes this is tackled during Sunday night TV viewing but I don’t always watch TV and even if I do, I don’t always feel like ironing.  Actually, I never feel like it.  Then the ironing accumulates and I pull out one thing at a time as I need it.  When I do that though, I try to iron one more thing as well, just to keep it all under control.  In general though I hate doing the laundry.  For me it is one of life’s least satisfying tasks.

Having said that, I have just finished organising my laundry.  I took down the old shelf that was ugly and not well installed and have put up a more practical and efficient Elfa shelving system.  I have installed a hanging rail over the laundry trough so that I can hang drip dry items there if I want.  I have all the buckets up off the floor and have installed a rack on the wall from which I can hang various brooms and mops.  I even bought a new ironing board that sits on a trolley on wheels and has racks underneath for folded garments, etc.  I am quite pleased with my laundry, which is surprising for someone who has just said how much they hate the activities that happen in it.

This weekend, I have to weddings to conduct.  The legal word is solemnise, but that is cumbersome and a bit tricky to say.  I immediately think of something else.  I prefer conduct or authorise.  The first wedding will be relatively conventional.  He is in the army and will be wearing his dress uniform.  What has amazed me however is how much alike they both look.  Hair colouring, skin colouring, freckles, face shape, shape of their lips, etc and to answer your next question – no they are not related.  It is definitely a case of likes attract though.  They are also besotted with each other.  I hope that they are very happy.

My next couple are having a pagan-style handfasting, and their ceremony will be a drawn out affair.  This is not because of any ceremonial preference, but because they have not been able to produce their birth certificates to me prior to the ceremony.  The certificates were not ordered in time and although Australia Post is being blamed, I suspect that they were not ordered soon enough either.  I cannot legally conduct the ceremony without sighting birth and divorce certificates as it is important that I am satisfied as to the identities of the parties being married, and also their capacity to marry.  I can still conduct their ceremony on Sunday though and will word it as a betrothal rather than a wedding ceremony.  Later in the week, when all the legal paper work is available, I will conduct a small private ceremony at which they will be legally married.

This couple have more financial, time and health issues to contend with in the lead-up to their wedding and with the bride having to do everything herself, I suspect that time management and organisational matters have been incredibly difficult.  This couple  do not have wide family support, probably because she is much older than the groom and this goes against current conventions.  I will give them the best ceremony that I can however and try to keep any stress in relation to the paper work in the background.  I have the feeling that they need something good to happen in their lives.

I have printed out the paper work for the first wedding, put the PA system on the charger and got my head around what I need to do for the first wedding.  When I get home from that one, there will be a lot of preparation for the second, given that it is reliant on more ritual than usual for a wedding.  Hope the rain stays away.