One Step At A Time: Or, On Nuclear Sites and Speedy Tortoises

We are now one month out until the wedding. 30 days. I should be like:


But it feels more like:
Okay, not really. I’m excited for Jaime and I to finally “make this official” (as though the 11 years, 11 months and x hours/minutes didn’t make it real before). We’ve been waiting for a long time for this. It’s really more of the planning side of things that has me concerned. And even then, I think that’s just society making me nuts. Engaged couples are always being told to plan as far in advance as possible with this knowing look as if the planners  been through some shit, man.


Like being told how Firefly got cancelled…or how they ran Castle into the ground. Haunting.

In reality, we have it easy via the long road: we’ve had years to plan this in small pieces. To make a long story short, we were supposed to be married 3 years ago. Then, in a way that is so purely cinematic, we got a call from Jaime’s mom asking if we were okay. Then she asked if we had seen the news. This was early morning or maybe early afternoon, so neither of us were getting updates. It turned out that one of the leading stories was that the state of New Jersey had seized the properties of a wedding venue, throwing countless weddings (including some for the very next day) into Code Red-emergency-alert-danger-Will Robinson-danger mode. Ours was still pretty far off, but it was definitely heartbreaking. We’d waited a couple of years to start planning the wedding and finally located a venue we liked that was in our price range and we were back to square one.

Oh, and the news broke ON MY BIRTHDAY.


Pretty sure this was actually my response later that day.

That was a pretty rough time for us. We were living apart to save on money. She was commuting to New York for her PhD and hating the 5 hours of commuting each day. I was passed over for promotion at a news channel I wasn’t sure would be around much longer (dodged a bullet there- they let go of 80 percent of the staff almost exactly one year later). It wasn’t quite as bad as so-poor-you-move-in-with-your-parents-while-broke-unable-to-get-a-decent-job-for-two-years-depression-so-bad-but-no-insurance-for-therapy bad. That was 2008-2009.

Needless to say, we decided to push on, this time choosing to wait until after she graduated from Fordham before we locked in a date again. The stress was only going to get worse closer to dissertation. This proved to be an incredibly smart move as surviving grad school is just a teeny tiny itty bitty minuscule labor of effort.


This time period, with Brosnan as 2012, and us portrayed by Sean “Can’t Get Life Insurance For Some Reason” Bean.

Over time though, she graduated and got hired while I switched to teaching (something I swore I’d never do again for a long time). Our finances improved, I moved into a new apartment, she eventually moved back in and we began the process of getting this wedding going with a venue chosen a year and a half ago.

Of course, all of the little details like tux rentals, centerpieces, favors, meetings with the DJ/photographer/florist/bakery, invitations, music choices, readings, all that jazz…we kinda were thinking of doing that after I wrapped up summer work in August.


Yeah, that went over well. Look, when I said I wanted to get my heart back into wedding planning, I didn’t mean it literally.

Still, things have gone well, despite the fact that Jaime is now working two jobs on top of keeping an eye on my recovery. It seems like every day we have an appointment with either a doctor or a wedding person. All I’m gonna say is that those beta blockers must really be working because my blood pressure sure seems manageable despite all of that.

Ironically, I realized that my life, which has an uncanny knack for bookending in symbolic ways, has done so yet again. Just as I began dating Jaime in college, my best friends Bart and Jess were preparing to study abroad with Bart headed to London and Jess going to Rome. Before they left, they recorded a “threatening message” (along with my friend Kat) to Jaime, warning her to treat me well OR ELSE. Which is hilarious, in retrospect, as they are as intimidating as, well:

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Except Kat. She’s a rocket scientist. So she could Death-Star-me and I’d never see it coming, Alderaan style.

Meanwhile, we’re now just over a month out from the wedding, the end of my “singlehood” and Bart just went to London and Jess is up visiting Canada. As long as they don’t get detained abroad, it’s all good. This is me though, so if you see a blog with all caps, just skip ahead assuming my best man and officiant have been Taken while abroad.


“Taken by Canadians? And the British? This has to be the most polite kidnapping I’ve ever dealt with…”

On the recovery front, I had my stress test done at my cardiologist two days ago. This was particularly convenient as it was two minutes away. I psyched myself up for what I assumed would be an arduous and perhaps dangerous evaluation of my heart’s condition. I was picturing barbells and more beeping monitors and enough treadmills to fill an OK Go music video.

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Well…I admit, my expectations were immediately jarred by the door to the test site.


Oh. Okay. I see how this is. The heart healing/survival superpower wasn’t enough? Now I have to go through some gamma radiation testing too?  At this point, I’m thinking “I haven’t walked nearly enough lately for this test to be a good thing! I’m screwed!”

Then I realized I was the youngest person in the waiting room by 30 years at least and that unless those nuclear tests aged people, I wasn’t getting Captain Atom/Firestorm/Hulk style abilities anytime soon.

This is part of my problem with aortic dissection at such a young age- there really isn’t a tutorial for this. Most of the blogs I come across are from years ago or focus on the later recovery. If I missed a great resource, PLEASE, feel free to send it my way! For now though, I’m sorta feeling my way through a cave in the middle of the night with no flashlight.

My expectation of a stress test:



With running on a treadmill like this:



In actuality, the dreaded Stress Test was really more like this speed:



The results are forthcoming, but they said my heart never went above 65 percent to the maximum limit and I was talking the entire time on the treadmill, so I guess I’ll be okay.

So there you have it, my comrades in the aortic dissection brigade- if you’re new to the recovery world, fear not! The stress test is pretty much a blood pressure check, an EKG hookup and a three-minute walk at a speed that could be beaten by a turtle. Just not this one:

Watch Who Wins: Tortoise and Hare Host Rematch of Fabled Race in Thailand

I’m just saying, that tortoise is FIERCE. He is not stopping for anyone or anything! He didn’t even stop to finish his snack. He is a reptilian Olympian!  Be like that tortoise, my friends. Be the Racing Tortoise.

Well…that’s the weirdest thing I’ve written in a while.

Until next time,





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