July 28, 2012

Our Wedding

Just married

D and I got married on June 9, 2012 in a beautiful outdoor ceremony in Piers Park, East Boston. During the days leading up to our wedding, the rain did not let up. Everyone was worried that our outdoor ceremony would be rained out. Everyone, except for me. I was convinced that the sun would come out on our wedding day - and it did!

Our ceremony in Piers Park

A long time ago, during our venue search, we came up with the idea of having an "urban beach" wedding. I would say that our wedding came pretty close - the ceremony was in front of a gazebo on a pier jutting out into the waterfront, with a marvelous view of downtown Boston. Also, I just realized that the roof of that gazebo kind of goes with my dress - surprise bonus points! And speaking of the dress, I ended up wearing a Betsey Johnson number that required exactly zero alterations. You know you got the right dress when it fits you like a glove.

We wrote the entire ceremony ourselves and it was exactly what we wanted - meaningful and brief. We got married in front of fifty of our closest family and friends, but there were several dear people whose absence I felt very vividly, especially during the ceremony. My grandparents could not make the trip to the wedding, and we tried to skype them into the ceremony. We did a trial run with my laptop a month before, and everything went smoothly. But on the day of the wedding, the internet connection refused to cooperate. It kept dropping the video call, and as a result my grandparents missed the entire ceremony. We knew for a while that they weren't going to make it to our wedding, and I thought I had time to prepare emotionally for their absence. Apparently, I was just fooling myself. But there was another absence that came as a complete surprise. Two days before the wedding, my best friend told me she could not come. She had an excellent reason, being almost nine months pregnant and unable to handle the five hour drive, and I know she really wanted to make it to the wedding, but it was like the straw that broke the camel's back. Just days before the wedding, I broke down crying, wondering what was the point of having a wedding at all if so many dear and important people could not be there. We proceeded with the wedding, of course, and I don't regret a single moment. But I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that my grandparents and my best friend did not see us get married.

Our first dance - salsa!

After the ceremony, we all walked four blocks to our reception venue, a converted firehouse with huge red doors. After the cocktail hour and dinner (with lots of toasts), came the part of the wedding I was looking forward to the most (besides the ceremony, of course). We hit the dance floor! D and I had been taking salsa lessons for three months before the wedding to practice for our first dance, and I think our guests were impressed. We danced for two hours straight before we had to vacate the venue, and I had a blast.


There were a lot of "traditions" and expectations that we did not include in our wedding. My dad did not walk me down the aisle - instead both D and I walked down the aisle with both of our respective parents. There was no long white dress, obviously. We didn't have a bouquet toss or a garter toss. There was no champagne (we don't like champagne, we served four kinds of wine and four kinds of beer instead), and there definitely was no cake cutting ceremony. The thing is, we don't really like cake! Oh, but there was delicious dessert - we had the best cupcakes ever invented. We still have a couple of cupcakes sitting in our freezer, and they tempt me every time I open that freezer door.

Our wedding was wonderful, it was very much "us", and it went by entirely too fast. Despite some doubts in the past and the stress of the planning, I am glad that we chose to share this day with our family and friends, and I am so happy with the way our wedding turned out.

All photos by Shane Godfrey Photography.

July 13, 2012

Improbability of Home Ownership

Yes, yes, I know I still have to write about the wedding (it was awesome) and the honeymoon (we loved it), but we are still waiting on the professional photos from the wedding, and quite frankly I want to talk about something else for a change.

Like home ownership. In the Boston area. Ha ha ha.

So, you've all heard about the housing bubble that burst back in 2008, right? Well, apparently, no one remembered to tell Boston about it. Not only did the housing prices in the greater Boston area neglect to drop, they actually continued to steadily climb in the most desirable neighborhoods. Which means that for the amount of money that can buy you a (deeply depreciated in price) 4,000 square foot McMansion in Florida, Arizona, or California, you can maybe purchase a run-down closet in Boston. Maybe.

But I didn't discover any of this until D and I recently started looking into the housing market in the area. We've talked about buying a house in the past, but it was more like discussing tentative plans in a far-away future. Now that we are married, we are considering the issue more seriously. (Not that we could afford a house right now, but it's good to be prepared in case we could buy something in a year or two.) In my usual fashion, I dove deep into research. So far, the results are none too encouraging.

Here is what happened. In my search for a potential house, I started with a few tentative criteria:
  • Urban environment (we are not big fans of the suburbs)
  • Good access to public transportation (this does not include the commuter rail)
  • Reasonable commute to work
  • At least three bedrooms
  • Around $300,000 price tag
  • Good schools

Right. Turns out I was kidding myself. First of all, some of these criteria appear to be mutually exclusive. A glance at the map of schools and their ratings shows that "urban" and "good schools" don't go together. As a former student of the public school system in an environment that is as urban as it gets (Brooklyn and Manhattan), I am completely baffled by this. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule called charter schools, but I haven't yet figured out what they are.

The next thing I discovered is that good schools and good neighborhoods go together. It's just that they don't go with urban environment or the $300,000 price tag. Alternatively, good neighborhoods go with urban environment, but not with good schools or the $300,000 price. And by the way, we are not even looking for a gem of a house. More like a diamond in the rough that we would be willing to fix up. Just considering the price tag alone, it turns out that all we could afford are crappy houses in crappy neighborhoods. That's a sound investment strategy, right? I was really hoping to stumble upon a rough-around-the-edges house in a good neighborhood, where it would worth investing time and effort (and money) to fix up the house. But those houses are being sold at around $400,000, even if they are foreclosures.

So, our tentative set of criteria is basically an impossible combination. In other words, something's gotta give!