Live from the arm of the couch closest to the furnace

It's been quite chilly, down into the forties. Jeff has been wearing his winter coat nearly every night, while I barely need a sweater. Several times he has tried to snuggle up to me and I have had to tell him to put his icy hands elsewhere. The tables have turned!! But he did buy me a Costco sized box of Healthy Choice frozen fudge bars. Or maybe he bought them for us, but who are we kidding here. While delicious, they drop my baby-fueled white hot core temperature to something more like its normal, tepid self. Too much so. This morning I ate one while standing full on in front of the living room furnace, and it occurred to me that something in this whole situation is not quite right.

Jeff and I spent Thanksgiving in Las Vegas. He booked us a room with a Luv Tub at the Imperial (so cheesy) Palace. Nothing says you love your pregnant wife like a ginormous bath tub:We enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving Indian tasting menu at Origin India (yummy). We won at blackjack, and we ate at buffets. (People smile at pregnant women in the buffet line. It must be a life affirming thing.) We enjoyed the fact that this was my first Thanksgiving off in five years and probably my last for a while. Not to mention our last vacation alone together without worrying about our child holding wild parties in our absence…

And….we got married again. Five years ago, we had a wonderful wedding, thanks to Jeff's parents. My parents were never so much into the planning for the future thing. They weren't exactly hippies, but way ahead of their time in terms of a non-materialistic philosophy of existence. Anyway, even if they had been in the habit a) saving money and b) paying for their daughters' weddings, I was the fifth daughter, so it still would have been unlikely. However Jeff's parents are very into the planning for the future thing, and they stepped in. So we had a wedding in the church in St. Louis where Jeff's grandparents and a number of his aunts and uncles were married. We solemnly vowed in front of everyone to be as happy as we could, to be excellent to each other, and to keep Satan out of our house. Then we had a lovely reception in a hotel with appetizers,chicken Marsala, an open bar (a Niehaus must), a band and dancing. We were so thoroughly married by the end of that weekend it's not even funny.

The whole thing was even more impressive when you consider that Marlo only had about four months to plan it. We had such a short engagement people were sure it was a shotgun thing, which couldn't have been further from the truth. We had just been dating for a long time and wanted to get on with it. We may have even briefly considered trying to make it a shotgun wedding, but we decided not to try in lieu of Jeff about to start his PhD and me about to start nursing school. (And even if we had tried, well, we all know how that would have turned out.) Anyway, we had back then gotten an idea into our heads that we would, in a few years, renew our vows, preferably in Las Vegas, preferably in the tackiest chapel we could find and under the silliest of conditions. We me being now noticeably pregnant, Jeff now skinny enough to fit into his college tux, and us being within driving distance to Vegas, last week seemed like the time.

It almost didn't happen, however. After I bought an empire waisted white dress at Target for $19.99 (Target has a suspiciously large selection of such dresses), I booked the $99 special over the phone at Garden of Love chapel on Las Vegas Boulevard. A deeply stoned man took my information and promised to get back to me. No alarms went off. After all, when you book a $99 wedding at a chapel in Vegas, why wouldn't the person who answers the phone be deeply stoned? However, by the night before the actual ceremony, when I had to give my information to the nice stoned man AGAIN, and he still wouldn't call me back, I was starting to worry. Jeff called around to make back-up reservations in case Garden of Love didn't work out, and while he was on the phone with the very non-stoned, organized, efficient woman from Vegas Adventure Weddings, he was told that Garden of Love had lost their business license a while back for being a public nuisance. I immediately Googled "Garden of Love license" and read the whole story here and here. Ah, so. Jeff called Garden of Love just to let Stoned Man know that we were aware of the situation, and that we wanted our reservation called off. Stoned Man said "Niehaus? I don't even have you down for tomorrow." Jeff sighed, "Of course you don't." Stoned Man has bigger problems than us, I think.

Adventure Weddings came through for us, and at ten am on Friday morning we again became Mr. and Mrs. Niehaus. Here's the chapel from the outside, in a strip mall on, well, The Strip. The inside is actually very nice…

Besides Jeff's college tux and a rented cummerbund, Jeff wore the Purdue pants left to him by a deceased benefactor of the Purdue Glee Club. Hence the big yellow "P" pattern on the pants.

Since our ceremony was a renewal and not a legal thing, it was performed, not by a minister, but by the chapel Elvis. We did not pay extra for this, since he was in street clothes. Pastor Elvis was not in full Elvis garb, but he did have the hair, and in the middle of the ceremony, channeled Elvis against his will. After Jeff had kissed the bride, we realized that we had forgotten to exchange the rings. So Elvis said, 'Uh…we're going to go ahead and repeat that part of the ceremony, because, uh…I didn't know." So we did, Jeff kissed the bride again, and we got this picture:
Besides the fact that it was silly and romantic and we had an awesome time, the whole thing really made me appreciate how great our real wedding was. (I should point out here that my now long married sister Lisa and her husband Kevin eloped, also in a non-shotgun ceremony, at a little chapel in Reno when they were nineteen. Many years later they invited the family to go back with them to Reno to renew their vows, which they did in a very pink little chap
el, and I loved it! )

Before our Vegas wedding Friday morning, when we were waiting for the chapel to open, I stood in the lobby of the tux/wedding dress rental shop next door. While I was there a woman came in to pick up her wedding dress and some flower girl dresses, and we kind of looked at each other. I think we had a moment of mutual pity, with her looking at me and thinking Oh, dear eight months pregnant and getting married in a strip mall chapel in Vegas and me thinking Oh, dear renting her wedding dress and having her actual wedding in in a strip mall chapel in Vegas. To each her own.

5 thoughts on “Live from the arm of the couch closest to the furnace”

  1. What a great weekend! I love Jeff’s little yellow “p”s. Are his slacks called “p” pants?I’m glad you had such a great vow renewal ceremony done the way you wanted. Elvis and all. You guys are fun.Steph


  2. Boy, was I glad to see your blog about the wedding. Marlo sent the pictures and I didn’t quite understand. But now I know we have even more in common. Uncle Rick and I were married the day after Thanksgiving in 1968, but we don’t plan to do it over again.


  3. You have me rolling! Not only can I SO relate to the furnace issues (although Mike was already a human furnace so he’s enjoying the change), but I’m so jealous of your creative way in spending your last getaway. What fun stories you’ll be able to share with the little one! We are thinking about you both and hope that these last few weeks go very smoothly! While I’m glad it isn’t time just yet, I’m looking forward to once again being able to sleep on my stomach. :-)Love, Cousin Jennie


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