In my earlier post My Biggest Day Preparations, I went through the day leading up to my wedding. Today, I’ll share some memories from the rest of the day.
The ceremony went quickly. It seemed like almost no time at all passed before the minister pronounced us man and wife. Handshakes and smiles occurred in a blur of a receiving line with family, friends, and several strangers (to me) that were somehow related or connected to the bride’s side. Then pictures, pictures, and more pictures while most of the guests drove off to the reception hall.
We had a sit-down meal and fed lots of people. The two of us ate very little and circulated the hall thanking everyone for coming. Some speeches, toasts, and a hail of birdseed sent us on our way. We drove to her house to change clothes before driving off on the honeymoon.
On the drive to the first night’s hotel, we noticed a strange odor coming from the dashboard vents. It was sour, slightly pungent, and burnt. We didn’t recognize it at all. The odor intensified whenever we stopped. The noxious cloud enveloped the car in the sickening smell.
It was her mother’s car. We were borrowing the little diesel Volkswagen Rabbit for the week. The vehicle was unfamiliar to me and I had no idea what could be wrong. It was past sundown and we drove lonely rural roads with no streetlights for long stretches. We quickly discussed what to do and decided to press on to the hotel and look at the engine in the morning. Fortunately, we did not have much further to go by then.
We parked and I ran to the front desk to check in and my wife waited in the car. When I came back, my new bride had turned an awful shade of green. She looked close to vomiting. The nasty smell had almost overwhelmed her in the few short minutes I had been gone.
I quickly got her out of the car, gave her the room key and pointed her to the nearest hallway entrance. She wobbled off in the right direction and I rapidly grabbed our luggage in one huge overloaded trip. I had no plans to return to the stinking car that night.
I caught up to her at the exterior door. It was locked with a simple quarter-turn spring lock that was opened by our room key. She had not encountered a lock like it before and was forcing the key in full turns before releasing which instantly locked the door again. I stopped her, opened the door and tried to extract the key. It was severely damaged. She had turned it so far that the shaft was almost corkscrewed. Useless for our room now.
I jogged back to the front desk to exchange the key. The desk clerk looked at me in shock and surprise at the key’s condition. He’d never had a guest destroy a key so badly (or quickly). A hasty mumbled apology and I received a replacement. Another quick run back to my new bride waiting queasily in the hallway. The car fumes were still lingering with her. This was not how I planned my wedding night would turn out.
One week later we returned the car to her mother. The smell had been caused by my brothers. They had sabotaged the engine by placing a full brick of blue cheese directly on the engine block. As the engine heated up, the cheese melted and burned down the engine.
We had removed the majority of the cheese the first morning using a metal coat hanger and some engine cleaner we bought at a local supermarket. During the honeymoon week the odor diminished each day as remnants cooked off.
My mother-in-law was upset with my brothers for a long time. She eventually sold the car during a cold winter with many air fresheners.
Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.