Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bad Neighbors

I am growing to hate one of our neighbors.  It was so quiet when we move in.  Then this spring the single Mom's Baby Daddy aka BD moved in.  He has a job, he takes her son to school some days.  He takes care of their little boy.  But he has noisy friends, and he comes home at 3:00 in the morning.

Sometimes he carpools.  His ride comes roaring, literally, in to the front of their apartment, honks the horn and yells for him.  Really, they don't have a cell phone to say they are there?  Like no one heard them arriving from a mile away.  We are talking about a really loud souped up varoom varoom.  On weekends Baby Daddy seems to party. 

Last night was the worst.  At 10:30 P.M. the honking and yelling began.  BD came running down and they took off.  At 2:45 I awoke to a loud car coming onto our street.  The car lights hit our bedroom window and it roared into a parking spot.  Since I am awake, I made a bathroom run.  The bathroom window looks at BD's apartment across the parking lot.  Four men are at the door, no lights are on.  OK he has forgotten his key again.  I have seen him crawl through the window in the daytime.  Back to bed I go.  I then worry maybe they are breaking in and it isn't BD.  I get back up and go look out the window again.  Lights are on and single mom is talking to them.  I go back to bed and go to sleep.

Sleep didn't last long,  Another car arrives with bright lights, loud motor, and doors slamming.  The party continues.  I go back to sleep finally, and then the damn cars leave.  I am awake again.  I think finally I can get a little sleep.  Wrong.

At 5:30 the idiots across the street set off their car alarm and upset all the dogs in the neighborhood.  And Marty, he slept through all of this.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Slow slow Monday

I had just become used to lots of weddings and Monday it slowed to a crawl,  I did only 4 ceremonies and Clerk A did maybe 3 Spanish.  I got a lot of my book read.  The ceremonies I did had no real stand out craziness or high emotion. 

There were a couple of different moments.  The bride's black and white dress was low cut over her enormous bosom. She had put black netting across her cleavage.  The cleavage that was showing through the netting had to been 8 inches long.

I looked at a license and went wow. One of the brides was born in 1932 and the other bride was born in 1928.  I thought these women will be all sentimental about finally being able to marry.  Wrong. they wanted the shortest fastest ceremony I had.  I was a bad girl, I did not tell them it only took 3 sentences to be married.  But I did do a very short ceremony.

Marriage Desk Clerk D had an interesting and stupid request.  A bride had hyphenated her name to let's say Brown-Jones.  A couple of weeks later she wants to change it to Jones-Brown.  She goes to the Court House to change it.  The clerk there told the couple they need to get an amendment from the Marriage Desk.  Wrong, they need a lawyer and have to file paperwork.  Anyway they show up and D tells them what they have to do, they argue the Court House had  said . . .  Clerk D wrote a note explaining what the Court House and the couple have to do and sent the couple back.  They didn't come back so I hope the Court House people figured it out.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My Last Friday at the Marriage Factory

I said Friday was my last time, but I bet Joe travels in the future.  Hey Joe, I am ready, willing, and able to cover for you anytime.  Now that Joe has had a long long working vacation, maybe he will start blogging again.  Friday was slow for a Friday.   There were a lot of ceremonies but not back to back as there usually are. 

A clerk came to tell me a couple was upstairs waiting on me. Why tell me that?  Couples are not to go upstairs without a commissioner.  No one had brought me license, I can't do anything without a license.  The Marriage Desk Clerk sent them downstairs.  I was given their license and we went upstairs.  I teased the couple that they were eager to get married and they said they were.  Both the groom and the bride were in black and white.  The groom out dressed the bride.  He wore a three piece suit, pearl white shirt, and a black and white tie.  Very striking.

Clerk  G handed me a license and warned me the groom was weird. She thought it was an immigration wedding.  She also thought the groom was on something.  I think she was right.  He was almost bug eyed.  He was hyper, abrupt, and a little scary.  His bride was a seemingly timid Asian.  He gripped her hands hard during the ceremony, stared intensely at her during the vows, hitting key words hard. ( promise, forsaking, love, comfort).  As weird as he was I finally decided they were a love match.  He would rub her hand with his thumb, and she would smile up at him.  After the ceremony they kissed and hugged in a loving way. 

As long as I have been doing marriage ceremonies I still get surprised by what people say and do.  When we give a couple their certified copy of the license, if there is a name change we tell them steps they need to take.  One or both persons marrying may change their names.   I explained to a bride to first go to Social Security, then to DMV, and lastly to change her name on her passport.  She said she hadn't changed her name, she had only hyphenated her name.  Uh, that is a name change.  When she left she was still protesting she had hyphenated so she wouldn't have to go to Social Security etc.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

They came from all over.

Monday I married three same sex couples from out of state. They came from Las Vegas, Nevada; Decatur, Georgia, and from Honolulu, Hawaii.   They had come all the way to Oakland, California to marry, knowing it would not be recognized in their home states.  There were two men from Oakland who had been together for 41 years.  They met as teenagers and finally were able to marry. I told them they were lucky they lived in California and would be recognized as a married couple.

I had a Bride from Ukraine and her groom was from Pennsylvania. Her Groom and the Best Man were wearing traditional shirts from Ukraine.  Her toddler nephew also wore a traditional shirt.  The Bride's dress was a white spaghetti strap sheath that had the same embroidery as the shirts on the bust and on the belt.  During the ceremony the toddler decided he needed to stand with his Mom, the Matron of Honor.  We all were grinning because he was so cute and doing cute toddler things.  Suddenly he spotted the Bride's yellow heels.  He got down on the floor and tried to pull them off her feet.  That is when everyone in the room including me lost it.  We laughed until we cried.  Mom picked him up and we finished the ceremony.

The Hawaiian couple and their guests were in Hawaiian shirts or brightly colored dresses.  Everyone wore beautiful wonderful smelling leis.  A little girl who was 3 years old had made a poster for them and we all signed it.  She showed me the hearts she had drawn and colored and then told me, " Mommy wrote the words."  I told them as we went back down stairs they were the best smelling group I  had ever had and that I would miss the flowers.  One of the woman leaned over and placed her lei around my neck and kissed me and thanked me for the beautiful ceremony.

Isn't this lei lovely?  I wore it as I did some more weddings.  When Marty picked me up he took me to lunch and I wore it then.  The lei would only last a day or so and I wanted to enjoy it as long as I could.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


Friday was its normal self at the Marriage Factory, busy.  Thankfully it wasn't crazy busy as some Fridays, because the clerks were having a bad day.  License after license had mistakes.  We had to reprint, have the couples sign again, and then do the ceremony.  Now to be fair many of the errors were put there by the couples.  They fill out half the license with personal information.  But the worse one was each of the couple marked they had been married, marked na and then had no date for death, divorce, what ever.  That should have been caught before it ever got to me.

The worst ceremony to do was an arranged marriage.  They were Indian and young.  She had just turned 19.  The bride's mother was the witness and bossy.  She kept asking me questions about the ceremony, what they had to do etc. and I politely ignored her.  The kids were marrying and it was obvious they did not want to, so I was all for making it at least what they wanted.  She said no vows and I asked them, the groom wanted vows.  We were going to have vows.

The bride stared at the floor.  He looked at her a little but mostly to the right of her head.  The mother is giving directions to me (hurry up, you don't need to say that . . .) and I am ignoring her.  The couple is miserable.  We get to the vows and I tell them to face each other and hold hands.  They start to reach for the other's hands, there is a scream behind me, "NO TOUCHING!  DO NOT TOUCH!"  The couple jumped apart and there was no touching.  Even though this was the legal marriage ceremony, the mother told me that only the cultural ceremony counted.  They could not touch until the priest married them.  So why didn't they use the license for that ceremony and skip the civil ceremony?

My favorite ceremony was two women dressed in flowing belted white shirts and white slacks. These women were born in 1933 and 1934. One wore a crown of daisies and carried a bouquet of white mixed flowers.  Friday was their 40th anniversary. They had at least 20 guests.  They had arrived early that morning and when they had to produce ID, one of the women had left her purse on the kitchen table.  She called her neighbor who had a key to get the purse and bring it to her.  That was a nice neighbor, she was coming 26 miles and if lucky could make it in 35  minutes.  Then an error was found and they had to reprint before the license ever got to me.   Every time I went through the lobby I saw them and thought I want to do their ceremony.

One of their friends had witnessed for one of my ceremonies.  Every time I came out of the elevator, they would come up and tell me they wanted me to do their ceremony.  I told them if I was still there I would do it. Another volunteer had arrived for her shift and it was time for me to leave.  She took a license and went upstairs.  I saw the women were the next license, so I decided to stay for them.  I grabbed the license, saw it was a reprint which meant it had already been checked.  That came back to bite me.

They were so happy it was me, the guests did a cheer for me in the elevator.  We did a lovely traditional wedding, bride escorted in while a couple of women sang, friends standing up with them.  Lots of tears and laughter.  I start to sign the license and see the other volunteer had signed it. Evidently she had signed all of the licenses and the souvenir licenses on the desk to save time.  YOU DO NOT sign anything until after the ceremony.  I had to tell the ladies we are doing another reprint.  I was mad and embarrassed I didn't catch it before the ceremony.

The reprint took forever.  The printer went crazy and kept sending error messages.  Everyone is working on it.  Finally, a reprint, sign again, and recorded.  From when I picked up the couple to when they got their certified copies, one hour.  Usually it takes 15 to 20 minutes.  They had already been there two hours because of the no ID and Friday normal wait time.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

As I said, "I have no endings"

Yesterday I was ironing shirts in the kitchen.  It was hot, so I went to the refrigerator for some Diet Coke.  I looked down and there is water everywhere.  Water in front of the refrigerator, between it and the compactor, between the compactor and the recycling bin, and water headed for the backdoor.  It had to be the line to the icemaker on the refrigerator. That is the only water on that side of the kitchen.  I couldn't move the compactor or the refrigerator to check.  I grab towels and start building a dam.

Backstory:  We paid the landlord's handyman to hook up the icemaker line three months ago.  After he left, we realized he had sealed the wall back up and we couldn't get to the water shut off valves.  Marty called him and asked him to come open the wall up and fix it so we could get to the valves in case of a leak.  He never came back.  We now have a leak.

Then I sent Marty a text to come home. No response.  I called him, no response.  I sent another text.  By this time I have lost it.  I am mad, worried and totally pissed.  I know how to turn off a valve, but I don't have a saw to get to it.  Marty calls me back.  I am a total bitch, he is his icy calm self.  The call did not go well. 

I call the landlord to get the handyman's (S) number.  He will contact S for us and send him out.

Meanwhile the flood stopped.  No new water.  The towels are holding.  I pick Marty up at BART.  When we get home he pulls out the appliances.  Marty checked connections and tightened them  We run the icemaker and the water on the refrigerator over and over, no leaks. 

It was hours later and several calls to the landlord and him calling the handyman before S shows up.  He cuts into the wall and puts in a removable patch over the shut off valves.  It has been around 8 hours and no more leaking.  We were lucky that the water stopped leaking.  I guess we would have bought a saw and made a hole in the wall ourselves if it hadn't stopped. In that time we could have had major damage to our apartment and the one under us.

Now the questions are what was leaking, why was it leaking, why did it stop leaking, is it going to happen again?

I have no endings.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finally Back to Mondays

Do you think this post looks strange?  So do I.  Live Writer and Blogger once again have shown how much they refuse to work together.  The more I try to fix the different font sizes and spacing the worse it gets.  So sorry and I will skip using live writer after this.

Yesterday I returned to the Marriage Factory on a Monday, albeit in the morning (8:30).  I really wanted my old time spot back, 1- 4:30. The people who were given the spot while we were in San Diego won’t give it up.  At least it took 2 people to replace me. I’m not really a morning person, but I will take the early spot.  Most  Mondays have a lot more action than any Wednesday.  Anything more than 1 is a lot more. 
Clerk A and I work well together and we continued our plan to move people in and out that we set up on Friday.  One of us walked out of the room and the other walked in.  Sometimes she was using the second room while I was in the Wedding Room. 
My first couple were so cute.  They could not stop laughing and smiling.  She wore a light blue dress.  It had little cap sleeves, the bodice was fitted and then the skirt was gored and ended in a semicircle.  It was a classic look.  In fact in 1966 I had a dress very much like it.  During the ceremony the bride kept laughing and was so eager to say I DO.  The witness and I were laughing with her.  Fun couple, and so much love in the room.
I couldn't find one of my couples.  The clerk had told me he was in his military uniform and she was in jeans.  I looked for them in the packed lobbies, I called their names, and finally behind lots of people there they were.  I looked at him, laughed, and said no wonder I couldn't find you, you’re wearing camouflage.  This couple gave me goose bumps.  So in love, so sweet, and he was military.  Military couples always make me teary eyed.
There were other couples but my last one stands out.  He was born in 1943, she was born in 1948. They were a good looking couple and didn't look their ages.  He wore a light brown suit with a white rose boutonniere.  She wore a short lined white lace dress with high heel sandals.  She carried a small bouquet of white roses and irises.  The couple had planned this wedding, they had checked out the room, and already picked the ceremony they wanted.  They each had a statement they read before saying their vows.  The statements were loving and very religious.  After hearing their statements of faith and the plan to grow together in the love of Jesus, I wondered why they didn't marry in a church.  But as I always say, I have no endings.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

WOW! Friday at the Marriage Factory

Joe our guest blogger is out of the country most of August.  I am working his Friday morning shift at the Marriage Factory.  Friday the busiest day of the week.  Wednesday has become a no business day.  So I really enjoyed the fast pace yesterday.  There is one down side to the fast pace.  There is no time to make many notes on fashion, quirks, errors, etc. 

Clerk A mainly does Spanish ceremonies when I am there.  But we had a plan, she did Spanish and English.  I did English. We have a lot more English ceremonies. This cut down on wait time for couples.  We were using two rooms which meant we were doing roughly 2 weddings every 15 minutes.  The whole morning we had 5 licenses waiting every time we came back to our desks.  The clerks out front were swamped with couples buying licenses and couples.  Clerk A and I never felt we were far behind.  If  3 or more clerks are processing licenses, 2 commissioners will be somewhat behind them.

Things got a little testy when some clerks kept telling us couples had been waiting for an hour and were unhappy. When a couple of clerks started circling check in times on the receipts, we were ticked.  We are working our tails off, being gracious, making sure each couple feels this is a great experience and clerks are bitching at us to hurry up.  Don't tick off the volunteer.  Do the math, 3 or more licenses every 10 minutes, 15 minute ceremonies, 2 commissioners. We do not do appointments, it is first come first serve, that means you have to wait. 

Now for one happy story.  My first ceremony the couple was two charming men. They were in their early 80's.  Very dapper, beautiful suits with pocket hankies. The shine on their shoes would blind you.  They were very emotional during the ceremony.  These men had been together 52 years and still adored each other.  Their friends did not look dapper, well one did.  Two were young and over the top with sparkly phones and shoes.  Everyone in the room was happy, fun, and having a great day.

52 years is a wonderful statement for love.  How honored I was to do the wedding ceremony for these two men.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Irony of It

The San Francisco/Bay Area was preparing for a BART strike to happen today.  Something like 500,000 people a day ride BART.  Extra ferries and buses were ready to help.  But nothing can handle that many extra people trying to get to work.  When they went out on strike in July, it was gridlock on all highways and surface streets even though it was a holiday week.  Driving was a total nightmare.  We were preparing for a bigger mess today because there's no holiday, therefore more people would be on the roads.

Last night Governor Brown called for a 7 day inquiry into the contract negotiations, and the unions can not strike during this period.  Huge sigh of relief, people will have a normal commute.  No gridlock, trains and  ferries running, traffic normal  all is right with the world.  Sounds good doesn't it?

This morning around 6:30 a big rig caught fire on the Bay Bridge, the main bridge between the East Bay and San Francisco.  Two lanes are blocked and the others are intermittently closed.  Every highway you can think of 80, 880, 24, 580 are jammed up for miles.  It will be into the afternoon commute before the big rig is pulled off the bridge, the road cleaned, and Cal Trans says the road is safe to use.

The irony of all this . . .  people are being told to use BART and not to drive.  Don't you love it?

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Rock Wall Event, no I was not climbing a cliff.  You know me  better than that, Rock Wall is a wine  company. When Hank and Ann were here last month we went to Rock Wall to taste.  Marty joined the wine club because joining was free and he and 2 guests could do a flight tasting free.  We are all about free. 

Last night Rock Wall had their August Pick Up Party.  Members came by to get their wine and do wine tasting with cheese, fruit, and salami.

 There were 10 wines to taste and the food was plentiful.  We got to take the monogrammed glasses home.  All that for $5, it seemed like a deal for a fun Friday night. 

When we arrived they directed us and others to the wrong building.  We found the correct building and there was a line.  500 members are invited and they have one person checking us in and one handing us our wine glass.  Not great planning.  At no time during the evening did anyone welcome the group or tell us about the wines available.  It was put on the wrist band and go over there, next.

The first wine table we said hello and the guy just looked at us.  There were two types of wine on the table.  Marty finally asked if he was pouring.  Yes, and nothing.  We had to ask to have some wine.  Weird. 

The other tables were friendly but we felt they didn't know anything about the wines.  One asked us what was being poured. 

I was a little grumpy about the crowd.  Wine tasting is an adult experience.   Yet there were children running through the crowd and there were strollers.

This woman was pretty polite.  She went behind people and watched where she was going.  Another woman was usually turned away from the stroller talking to friends.  But she kept moving the stroller back and forth and then she would swing it to another side and not look. She missed me by a hair.

We tasted, ate good cheese, and walked around.  No one was there to talk about the equipment or the process.  This was a warehouse and processing area.  But they had one decorative item.

This  painting was on the roof of an office area.
The wine is not the best in the world.  The Zinfandels had an OK taste, but most had a medicinal aroma.  The worst tasting one was a $40 bottle.  The sparkling wines were bland, just cold and bubbly.  One of the Chardonnays was pretty good, but not $25 OK.  I would have preferred a Diet Coke.
We had a fairly nice time.  We picked up our two bottles we had to buy as club members.  One more wine release and we can cancel our membership.  That money can be spent at Costco's wine section way better.