Television and North America Ruin Weddings

In the last 3 years I have been involved in three weddings, including my own. Being directly involved in two of them, I have come to see the ugly weeds that can sprout quickly and viciously in the midst of a beautiful thing.

My best friend was engaged first, in May of 2011, to her common-law boyfriend of 5 years, and I was very happy for her since it was something she’d always wanted. She’d asked me to be her maid of honor, for which I was initially excited, then realized all the responsibility that came with the title. (I got married just over a month before her so I ended up being the matron of honor.)

Then ensued all the “wedding shopping” for which it was my “responsibility” to attend. All of it. She just got married July 27, 2013 (over a week ago) and in that 2.3 years I attended two Bridal Fantasy fairs, and multiple dress shops, and however many fittings, you name it. Bridal Fantasy for me was just a lavish, over-the-top poster of what a North American wedding should look like. Limos, limo-buses, high-end $1200 DJ’s with smoke machines, expensive macaroons, and plastic looking cakes (that when sampled certainly tasted that way). Booths with wedding table settings and centerpieces created out of what looked like half a tree and draped with everything glitter and diamonds. Walking out of that place I was only left with the thought of “how can anyone even afford a wedding when these are the expectations?”

When you google the average cost of a wedding in North America, $26,000 is the number that appears!! No wonder many people live common-law with the way cost of living has gone up coupled with the expectation that you’re going to need between $19,000 and $32,000 in order to have “the perfect day”. And that number does not include the honeymoon.

My second beef with weddings in our country is how we tell brides they are allowed to act. Not directly, but through media, celebrity weddings, and television shows that are all about overspending, air-headed, snotty bridezilla’s. Constantly you hear brides are told “Honey, this is YOUR day” and “Today is about you” which leaves pedesteled brides resorting to the generally tearful phrase “but this is supposed to be about me!”…which frankly is a poor albeit selfish way of dealing with the bride not getting her way.

Pardon me, but it does read in Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” It doesn’t say this is the day the Lord made FOR YOU. It also says in Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it’s fullness. The world and those who dwell therein.”
We are so easily bombarded by the world’s ideas that somehow you are OWED the day of your wedding (and those leading up to it) and everyone must wait on you hand and foot. Some brides seem to think that their friends lives should stop and come second to the brides wedding. When I requested to my best friend if I could please do my own hair for her wedding to save $100 (after I’d already spent $1000 to be in her wedding), she told me the other bridesmaids had also dropped out of their expensive hair appointments. Then she said “everyone had two years to plan for this.”

Come on, lady. I love you to death, but why turn to absurd statements like that.

She did pretty well for a bride under much stress. A few points throughout the day before and the day of the wedding she did have a few snapping moments, which when addressed, she would say “I’m allowed my one bridezilla moment.”

Now, I’m not blaming her for any of this. Truthfully, I have sat and watched TLC for hours, all the wedding shows they have available. From Rich Bride, Poor Bride to Say Yes to the Dress, and even Bridezillas. The attitude and actions of most brides on these shows is atrocious, and that’s an understatement. How can you tell a bride to be nicer when she’s been shown time after time this type of behavior is allowed and even excused for?

Where is there posts on the internet and magazines that talk about being a UNDERSTANDING, GRATEFUL, and KIND bride, one who carries herself with grace and is humble before others and before the Lord? Well certainly being a beautiful bride from the INSIDE and out does not make good television.

I was humbled by my own family and friends at my wedding about seven weeks ago. My grandfather fell ill 9 days before the wedding, while I was out of town at work. I came back 4 days before the wedding, and my whole family was constantly at the hospital, leaving me to do almost all of the leg work myself. My husband tells me that the only thing I complained about when I called him sobbing at night those 3 days was NOT that no one was helping me or that there wasn’t time to get the ceremony programs done, but that I did not have the time to stay all day long with my grandpa, only a few hours here or there.

He died the morning before the wedding while I was at the spa getting a body polish and my gel nails.

My mom and her side of the family (three boys, two girls) were all making the food for my wedding, and in the midst of everything they lost their father, and still gave to me and my husband from the bottom of their hearts.

Our wedding was on Father’s Day and there was no room for selfishness or pride. How could there be when there was so much love, which is SO much more important than if the centerpieces look perfect.

During the signing of our marriage license, we played “Nothing Compares” by Third Day. “Nothing compares to the greatness of knowing you, Lord”. Not even a wedding day compares to the joy and the love we will experience when we get to be with Jesus.

And I hope more brides focus on this instead.


Life in a Uniform

The last five-six weeks have been a revelation of sorts. I started my ambulance practicum in a small town a few hours northeast of Edmonton, doing 24 hour shifts 4 on/4 off. Was I excited? If by ‘excited’ you mean I stressed myself out to the point of stomach aches, indigestion, acne, and insomnia…then indeed, was I ever excited.

I showed up at the hall the night before it started, met a couple of the medics and tried my best to sleep, but of course the insomnia wins again. I spent most of my first day pretty quiet (true story), met my preceptor, a 6’4″ guy my age, VERY nice and respectable. My first call with them was for a guy with incopacitating back pain. I was vibrating with anxiety, but somehow I managed to take an accurate blood pressure (be thankful for the small things, right?) and keep my wits about me on the call. After that, basically learned everything there was to know on a ambulance call.

After 5 tours (480 hours), I have come through with some fantastic calls, worked with some of the most patient staff in the field, and gained so much knowledge about people, the career, and the health care system.

As well as the fantastic calls, there have been strange ones, and funny ones. I have some examples from my favorite moments on calls, or in the ambulance…

The very first call they made me run was at 10pm at night, and my patient was a Hep C AND HIV positive, 6’7″ 300 lbs black (african-american? mmm not sure how to word that) guy in a jail cell. The RCMP opened the cell, and he immediately started cursing and swearing at me (and I’m so little for crying out loud!). I looked back at the paramedic, who motioned to me “ok, have at ‘er”. Gulp. He actually calmed down once I started talking to him, but as if nobody would be intimidated in that situation!

Then trying to do an IV in a patient while driving on a gravel road, who was going through alcohol withdrawals, he jumped when I tried to stick the needle in his hand (huge pansy) and so I nicked the vein, and blew through it. Sigh. His fault not mine. I put a bandage on it and put an IV with much less fuss in his other arm. When he tell me the first hand feels wet, I tell him he’s just imagining it, but I look down and what do you know…he has bled all over my pants and my boot. Patience, Sierra…remember to have patience.

The most disappointing thing I learned on the service is that no matter who your patient is, white, black, native, young, old…EVERYBODY LIES. Everybody’s only had one drink. Nobody has ever done drugs. Everybody always walks 25 km out of town to get home when they’ve been drinking (when really, they’ve rolled their car in a ditch a kilometer away, and think I don’t know what a seatbelt blemish looks like on their chest. Ya, ok buddy, I believe you.)

Funny story about THAT guy. Despite him lying, we spine-boarded him as a precaution, and loaded him into the ambulance, and started heading down the gravel road to town. A RCMP officer jumped into the back as well, behind the guy, in case he confessed about his car. Now, I had not practiced doing IV’s in a moving vehicle yet. Needless to say I was so nervous trying to start one on the guy with my preceptor AND a cop watching me. I poked him three times and couldn’t even start one! Frustration!! Well, once we wheeled him into the hospital, he confessed to drinking and driving. The cop was waiting in the hall with me and leaned over….

COP: “Psst..”
ME: “What’s up…?”
COP: “You know what my favorite part was? The part where you poked him…and then…you poked him again…and then you poked him again..”
COP: “No…I’m just saying…some of them need to be ‘poked’ a few times if you know what I mean…”


I think I’m gonna like this field 😉


You’re Going to Feel a Little Poke

Morgan's handy work

Morgan's handy work

I wasn’t feeling very good yesterday or the day before, actually I am positive it was due to the lobster I indulged in on Thursday night at school, because the next day I was periodically nauseated, and anything I ate gave me ridiculous stomach cramps then sent me running to the bathroom to relieve myself. So yesterday I took it upon myself to flush my system with water all day. I ate nothing till dinner and was feeling very weak. Once again I ran to the bathroom.

Then all the medics had a meeting at the boss’ shack for 8. We went over ALS assistance and equipment that paramedics use in the field. Then Morgan and I (both writing the finals for our EMT program in two weeks) wanted to practice IV’s. I offered up my arm and everybody was stood around to watch.

It really didn’t take as long as it felt. Maybe 4-5 minutes. I have to concentrate when someone has a needle in me so I can ignore the stinging. I don’t know what happened though. Once she got it into the vein, and the tourniquet was released on my arm, I immediately felt my stomach rolling and the sensation of someone cupping over my ears. I’m sure I would have laughed watching this happen to myself.

I weakly called Brian, sputtering that I was going to throw up. He said I wouldn’t. I said it again. Someone got a bucket.

By the time they got it all out of my arm and was stopping the bleeding, my vision was all starry and sparkly, and I got up and stumbled to the back door. I hung out it in the cold breeze, and I would have peed myself laughing if it weren’t me this was occurring to. After a few minutes, I turned to Brian, and all he could say was “Wow, are you EVER white.”

I laid down on the medical bed till my color returned. Ridiculous I tell you. I looked like such a pansy.


Days Consist of Tea, Thought, and Repelling Sexual Harassment

When one hears of a woman working with over 600 men, it’s easy to wonder how she makes it through living there without being taken advantage of. But it happens, I tell you. Hell, even in MEETINGS it happens. The men whom I standby for had been being asked to find a trapper, and if they did, would receive a company hat. I spoke up, loudly inquiring if I would get the hat should I come across the trapper. The consultant chuckled and said if I DID find him, I could bounce on his knee. My reply to him (and the room)? I’d rather have the hat.

Luckily, men in all their post-Neanderthal ways have learned to use words to their liking. And boy, do they put them to use.

Sometimes you are curious as to what they say as you pass by a group of them. A comment was once relayed to me as to where a guy would put a heat-detecting prong in me, and I have since decided not to wonder at the repulsive, albeit creative, things brainless monkeys can come up with.

It’s a common saying here that sexual harassment is a benefit. I laugh now because I understand, but in the beginning it was quite the adjustment.

Sometimes I can be just as bad though, especially the dinner table, playing games with the other medics by verbally “laying claim to that one. AND that one.”
Never lose your standards though, or respect for yourself.
My boss asked what was wrong with me at the table last night as I made the bad example of pointing and giggling with the girls.
My reply?
“Look, B, I’m just having fun. You would want to have fun too if you had a gap-toothed, hill billy vac hauler hanging into your window drooling for two hours a day.”
Brian: “Touché.”

Isolation Does Things to a Person

Just another day in paradise today. Although It was nice to see a colder day (-22!) for a change, hopefully helping the roads up here instead of making them work.

I found myself quite preoccupied today with a strange thing. See, I was told to just sit where this other medic was sitting way up in the bush. So I did.

Middle of Nowhere

Not naming any names, but let`s just say it was a pleasure to get to know `Patrice`. Tall, good-looking, a little on the quiet side, and chiseled. Yes, I hate using that word, as it just screams ego, but Patrice has earned its use.
We chatted for the 5ish hours we were parked sidelong, he probably didn`t like it at first but I`m pushy, therefore he chatted right along with me till I left. At once, from the moment I met him, I instantly became completely and obsessively focused on his eyelashes.
I know I`m not the only one this has happened to, but when you meet a man with eyelashes that go beyond any woman`s, there is bound to be some jealousy involved.
Well. They are FABULOUS. And they send my short, straight, fire-pokers packing back to the follicle.
In fact I thought about them all afternoon. I wanted to know how fine the hair was, was it thick, was it even. I wanted to try curling them and see if them would just go overboard, or if they were, dare I say it, TOO LONG TO CURL! They were like an anomaly. Like a black person with blue eyes. Coveted by sooooo many women, and God hands them to a man! He`s doesn`t even wear MAKEUP for crying out loud! I daydreamed about putting mascara on them (three different formulas actually) to see how they faired, if they would collapse under the weight of it, or if they would even separate.

I feel even with my three coats (two formulas) of mascara (lengthening + separating and a volumizing) mine do not even bring an eye-catching wager to the table. My estrogen-influenced mug doesn`t even feel qualified to face the Caesar of all eyelashes. I wanted to sing an ode to them and feed them grapes.

I suppose I`m stuck with falsies.

Patrice…you lucky guy.

Men of the Oil Patch

Working with over 600 men at a time can be intimidating at first, I recall the first time at twenty-one I went to a drilling pre-spud meeting (basically its a pre-planning meeting just prior to the kickoff of a company’s drilling rigs for the winter) and it was a nice hotel in Nisku, AB.

I walked through the hotel looking for the ‘Lancelot’ conference room that was booked. I peeked in, and there had to be over three hundred men in there, not a woman in sight. I backed out, and asked the concierge if that’s where the company was meeting. Much to my dismay, yes it was.
I took a deep breath and walked into the room, focused on where an empty chair might be at a table full of men and sat down. That was my first time experiencing the stares. Quite scary.

A drilling rig isn’t so bad, maybe 18-20 men you will work with at one time. But a camp and seismic work is much different. And the different characters of men are vast numbers.

To name a few:

“Hulk Hogan”: No idea who this guy is. But dead ringer for the Hogan. Guessing he’s in his 50s. Jacked like Arnold.

“The Guard”: I don’t know his real name, I just know he is like the invisible, gentle giant security guard. Tall and fairly good-looking and probably about 30, I always run into him in between the buildings in the dark, and he always has the most serious expression until I run into him, then he smiles quickly. We have short, genuine conversations in passing. In the strangest way I trust him. Definitely don’t get the creeper vibe from him.

And there are sooo many more. Enough to write a book about.