Marriage: The Magical and the Melancholy

We had already decided to post pone the wedding, we let go of all the dreams, the plan A’s, the plan B’s, the plan C’s. I resolved myself to a future date of wedding bliss and I tried to pretend it didn’t matter. In truth the piece of paper that says we are married, really didn’t matter. I stand by my previous statement in an earlier post that another year without declaring our love into law didn’t negate the fact that we love each other. But I was still missing something. I felt robbed. Robbed of the moment where we took each other’s hands and declared to love each other forever, robbed of calling this man my husband and being his wife. What we were supposed to get on April 25th 2020 was so much more than a piece of paper and I had longed for it for so long. Especially as a girl who felt she was invincible in love, who never needed OR wanted someone. I was an independent lady who found a way to be independently and whole heartedly in love. This man had taught me I could keep flying but still have a home to roost. I was so excited for that moment to declare that I, the girl who would never be tied down, was forever tied to someone else, that’s what April 25th 2020 meant to me. Which leads to…

Monday afternoon April 20th. I was exceedingly feeling defeated. The week prior at work I had learned my manager and glue to our area would be relocated to another position. As a close-knit family this hit me and my fellow coworkers hard and we knew more layoffs were coming. We huddled at the desk trying to make guesses. We worried about our futures in and out of work. I was supposed to work that Saturday, the 25th, the day I was supposed to be married. I warned my coworker working with me that I would be sad mess to work with. Then I started thinking about how I was supposed to have Thursday off, the day that my east coast mom was supposed to get into town and her daughter, (one of my best friends and co maid of honor). We were supposed to go to COSTCO and get the food for our post wedding picnic on Sunday (a day I was also now working). I thought how I was supposed to have Friday off, go get my nails done, the flowers would be arriving for us to create our bouquets and center pieces. Friday night was supposed to be our rehearsal and we were going to be able to thank our family and friends for coming. I had gifts I was so excited to hand out.

I said FUCK IT. SO much was being taken from me, from my fiancé, from our families. I couldn’t get all those little moments back but I wanted to take back that big moment. The I DO moment. I told him that night and he was immediately onboard. The rest of the week we figured out logistics of our elopement. We got our officiant and two witnesses, a time, and a place. We wrote our vows. I waited in line outside of Target wearing my mask to get in and found the perfect white maxi dress to wear. My mom scrounged her jewelry box and found a simple silver band. Because, If I forgot to mention, my wedding dress, although had arrived was sitting unaltered, and my wedding band (and engagement ring) were sitting at the jewelers, held captive by Covid-19.

April 25th, 2020, we got married. In the front yard of my Grandpa Ask’s house out in the valley (Carmel Valley). My mom and one of Sergey’s coworker’s as our witnesses. Mom holding up a phone live streaming to our immediately family who couldn’t attend. His coworker took wedding worthy photos with the iphone. We got ready together at our apartment. I watched a youtube video to figure out how to put a simple braid headband in my hair, carefully applied more makeup than I had worn in months, and slipped into the dress I found at Target. My love put on his suit (minus his tie) and tucked our rings as well as our vows and marriage license into a paperbag with our masks and gloves. Everything was perfect. It was strange, unorthodox, but it was also us. The couple was inseparable from the first date. The couple that got engaged inside their apartment via chalkboard. We are weird and we embarked in mutual weirdness together, under the trees in the front yard of the house my grandpa built by hand, on an early Saturday spring evening.

I take nothing back. I however would be telling a falsehood if I said my mood has been anything but rocky ever since. At times I am insanely happy, I look over at the man in the kitchen doing the dishes and think “That’s MY Husband!” There are also times that I feel like it is a lie. It didn’t really happen. It was such a brief moment in time. Can that really have been it? Is this all there is? After our “I do’s” sure we stayed talking for a minute in the driveway. But there were no hugs, no embraces of congratulations. I still haven’t been able to hug my mom since I’ve been married and its already been a month. There was no big dinner out. We drove home. We made parmesan encrusted pork chops and ate them while watching tv. There wasn’t a honeymoon period. Sure, we tried our best. I wore my “wife” shirts (#marriedAF) I had ordered on Etsy and we spent the next three days in bliss before he went back to work. We walked down to the beach and splurged on a pick-up order from our local Italian restaurant. There wasn’t a return to normal after the honeymoon period, where I got to share my excitement of marriage with my friends and coworkers. I had lost my job the day before we got married. There was no moment I could squeal and hold out my hand to show off my new wedding band. Since we’ve been married all I’ve gotten to see is my husband (Sometimes my mom at a respectable social distance at the park). I love my husband, obviously since we got married, but a girl sometimes needs to share HOW MUCH she loves said husband to her girlfriends. Over wine. NOT over video chat.

I regret nothing. My feelings go up and down like a yo-yo, but If this is the world we live in, there is no other way I would have wanted April 25th to happen. This man who calls me wife is amazing. He’s supportive. He’s silly. He makes quarantine ions easier. If this is the bad I can’t wait till we get to experience the good together. This is just a salute to everyone who is feeling like a yo-yo, it’s ok. This is a strange world we live in and its ok to feel like you are drowning, its equally ok to feel over the moon. Just because the world is chaos doesn’t mean good things aren’t happening in our life. Embrace them. Treasure them. Also, drink wine.

 

 

Keep roaming.

Save the Date AGAIN?! – The Ups, Downs, and In-Between of Postponing a Wedding

The Five Stages of Postponing a Wedding:

  1. Denial/Initial Fear: When I went to my bachelorette party, Covid-19 was still an overseas alarm. There was slow fear starting to edge into the United States but I put it out of my mind while I had a great weekend with my girls in New Mexico. When I got home to California there were signs of it starting to reach the United States and I started jokingly (fearfully) questioning how it would impact my wedding to my coworkers. I began the initial process of letting small pieces of my dream go, concluding that some people may not be able to travel to make it and that my wedding would still be great minus 10-20 people.
  2. Sadness #1: I went to pick up my wedding dress with my mom before shelter in place took affect and although my wedding was still 60 days out, I could feel that it wasn’t going to happen. I couldn’t get excited when I tried on MY dress and I know my mom was trying so hard to make it feel special. I spent $100 on books at Barnes and Noble and went home to cry on my fiancé’s shoulder as I acknowledge this is going to affect our big day way more than we want.
  3. Bargaining: I started making plan B in case plan A couldn’t go through. Plan B being a smaller ceremony followed by a delayed reception. My mom laid out plans to set up the backyard. Meanwhile I felt like others were breathing down my neck to talk to my vendors about rescheduling. I wasn’t emotionally ready yet to do that and may have snapped at a few people.
  4. Sadness #2: Cried in my fiancé’s arms again. Realized that things with Covid-19 were getting worse and not looking like they were getting any better any time soon.
  5. Acceptance: Sat down with my man and figured out we wanted from our wedding and what we wanted our marriage to mean and feel like. Things nixed off the list: courthouse wedding. Things needed: personal vows, married by someone we love. Finally sat down and created a postponement plan, reached out to vendors, and moved the F*** on.

Final Thoughts:

It sucks. It sucks so much. We had already planned a long engagement of one and a half years. We’ve been looking forward to being husband and wife for so long, to have it delayed is heart wrenching. However, when it comes down to it, we plan on being together forever. What is another couple weeks, to several more months before we celebrate with a piece of paper? Our lives weren’t going to be different after the wedding besides for some new jewelry and a new title. Yes, it will mean something, but no it doesn’t mean the way we feel about each other is changing.

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Easy Steps to Reschedule:

*DISCLAIMER: I am doing much of this wedding myself/DIY. So I have a small number of vendors*

KEEP ORGANIZED: I like to list everything in an excel spreadsheet to see all the facts listed together. As a wedding that is very DIY I have a lot of moving pieces between households. I made a list of all items I have stored at my house, my moms house, my future mother in laws house. (I also have items that are listed elsewhere, most that got stuck during shelter in place, so I don’t forget to pick them up as soon as I can: rings are at the Jeweler, my cake topper is in the storage unit etc). Now when I start to work on wedding stuff again in 6 months I’m not going crazy trying to remember where everything is. The more organized I am the less stressed I am and everything counts during the emotional task of rescheduling such an emotional event.

New Date: Have a serious talk with your significant other. Decide on a new date that feels right for you. Do you want it as soon as possible? Is it important to you to keep it within a certain season? Consider how easy it will be for your guests to reschedule. Does everyone live locally, or will they have to travel? Is it important to have the same number of guests or would you prefer to make it smaller with the new changes? There is no wrong answer. Just what is right for you.

For me and my fiancé we decided we had a strong attachment to the date of our wedding April 25th. We also decided that with the financial hardships brought on by Covid-19 we didn’t want anyone to have to worry about affording to come to our wedding while getting back on their feet. For a small guest list, we have about half who would need to fly in. We already knew our venue would push our deposit 12 months, so we made the decision to push everything back by one year.

Vendors: You should already have a list of who they are, how much you’ve left for a deposit etc.

  1. Relist them: Add whether you’ve talked to them, if you canceled the vendor or are going to reschedule them. Add how long they will keep your deposit for, how much is left to pay, the new date they are rebooked for, and where your new contract is located for easy access. Don’t forget to add if there is a deposit being refunded, how much you are getting back, and track when it has been returned.
  2. Talk to each vendor: figure out if they will apply your deposit to another date and the length they are willing to hold/apply your deposit for.
  3. Set new dates in stone. Reach out the Venue first. Without the venue you have nothing. Just like when planning the wedding originally secure your new date with your venue. At this point you should have a good idea of what vendors are going to work with you and their available dates to domino effect this easily.
  4. Find new vendors. If needed after you have an updated contract with your venue you can hunt out new vendors if any of yours dropped out or are unavailable.

Honeymoon: First decide if you would like the same honeymoon or if you want to start from scratch. We’ve decided to keep to very similar plans of our old honeymoon with some minor tweaks. That made it easier to reschedule hotels. Then the rest is very similar to the steps for vendors, and it involves spreadsheets. Does it sound like I love spreadsheets?

  1. Relist them. What’s the hotel/activity, what was the deposit, are you rebooking or canceling, will there be a refund, did you receive your refund back, how long will your deposit keep for (if rescheduling), what’s the new date you rescheduled for, is there a new confirmation number (i.e GET ONE!)
  2. Talk to each hotel/activity. Some items you can even reschedule online which makes it easier. Some hotels will hold your deposit to a new date or even reschedule with you over the phone if you already have a new date.
  3. Once you get your wedding finalized, finalize your new dates with your hotel(s) or book new ones. Just like when originally planning you will want to book in advance. If you are scheduling your wedding for sooner rather than later keep in mind a lot of original places may be booked up. Especially if you are trying to go for a particular room, like the honeymoon suite.

For a breakdown we have six items reserved for our Honeymoon (4 hotels and 2 activities), as we were planning a mini road trip. Two hotels we canceled out right and got full refunds. Two hotels applied our deposits to later dates. One activity refunded us our deposit to a gift certificate that is good for 12 months. The second activity we decided to book for our dating anniversary in September to have a little something to look forward to. Now I have a place to start, my favorite rooms still reserved at a couple of my favorite hotels and a clean slate to book the rest. (scroll to the end of this post for a basic spreadsheet example.)

 

♥♥♥ The wedding will roam again. ♥♥♥

 

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Real life Example:

Things to Reschedule
item Canceled total paid total refund Refund received length deposit will keep date confirmed new contract?
venue N $           6,000.00 12 months Sunday, April 25, 2021 in email
caterer EMLED 4/7 (2X)
makeup artist N $                   50.00 12 months Sunday, April 25, 2021
photographer EMLED 4/7 $400.00
Flowers Y $                             – $                     –
Picnic Area Y $77.00
Yosemite Hotel Y $         251.10
Jeep tour N $441.72 Sunday, September 27, 2020 in email
Tahoe Hotel Y $         254.03 Y
Boat Tour N $                 214.83 GIFT CERTIFICATE
Mt. Shasta Hotel N $                 252.75 12 months
Featherbed B&B N $                 220.00 12 months Sunday, May 2, 2021 in email

 

 

Brotherton for now…for Life

Now that my marriage is fast approaching, I felt I should address this once and for all. To those that know me it will come as no surprise that no, I will not be changing my name. TO those who feel they don’t know me enough to understand why. This blog is for you!  

Short answer: I AM a Brotherton. 

Long answer:  Being a Brotherton is part of me. Although I love my fiancé very much, I have no connection to Neronov. This doesn’t mean that I’ll be offended if someone calls “Mrs. Neronova,” I will acknowledge it with pride that I get to spend the rest of my life with this man. But this man is not me. I am my own person, with my own identity, and my own name. At this point I feel I should state that I have nothing against woman who change or wish to change their name. It might mean more to them; they might have less of a connection to theirs. It’s not up to me to judge how other people want to be identified.

To break down my strong attachment to Brotherton we need to split it between two parts; the heritage behind it and the women who carry it. 

I grew up loving the way it rolled off the tongue and the ring to my name as you say it out loud. Hannah Marie Brotherton. I even love my initals and that when you write them you don’t have to take the pen off the paper once. But what I love most is that I grew up knowing I got the “Brotherton feet” and the “Brotherton humor.” Those are parts of me. I also have a strong attachment to my paternal grandfather. Who to distinguish from my other grandgrathers we called him simply “Grandpa Brotherton.” Although I am blessed with a plethora of grandparents, Grandpa Brotherton is the one I got to grow up with the most. He came to my soccer games and my elementary school fuctions. I got to spend quality time with him every month, for years, just him and I where we would watch tennis and drink tea. I got to hear stories of him growing up in England, and him fighting in World War II, and his architectural feats here in the United States. All of which revolve around my name. These stories also gave me a greater attachment to my name being English. The fact that there is a town out there with my name and that my friends found fallen soldiers who shared my name on the WOrld War II momument in Europe while they were abroad.

Secondly, and almost more importantly, I have a lot of great women fin my life that still carry the name Brotherton. My grandmother for one, more lovingly referred to as Granby, stayed a Brotherton throughout her life although she is no longer together with my grandfather. Both of my aunts remain Brotherton to some degree. One returned to Brotherton after her divorce and the second choose to hyphen her name. Lastly my mother, although also divorced, chooses to remain a Brotherton. I grew up with these women. These strong, independent, defiant at times women who speak up and stand strong for what they believe. I feel blessed  to follow in these women’s footsteps and hold my head high carrying this name with me throughout my life. It is me and I am Brotherton.

THE BROTHERTON WILL ROAM ON. Happy Roaming! 

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Making Time for Life

It would be inaccurate for me to tell you that I didn’t have a mild, mental, time management related, meltdown as the New Year started. There are so many things I want to do! I want to begin pushing my career forward again, which means getting to work on time (I’m notorious about being late), staying late, going to more happy hours, pursuing mentor relationships, and basically that corporate hustle. I want to finally help my mom start our Etsy shop that we’ve taking about for almost two years. I want to achieve 365 outdoor miles. I want to run five 5k’s. I need to plan my wedding (April 2020 what’s up!) and continue to build and foster my relationship with my fiancé. Last, but not least I want to devote the proper time to this blog and my writing.  THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO!

So if you’re like me, and you have big aspirations and big dreams to balance your personal life needs with your corporate life needs, I’ve laid out my plan below for the year. Feel free to steal, execute, and critique.  I stole little bits of my plan from what’s worked before, from a book I’ve started reading about creating more time with the time you have, and life advice from those closest to me. I’m excited to see how it goes, and if anyone else has additional idea to try please leave it in the comments below!

STEP ONE:

 SEPARATE THE IMPORTANT FROM THE INSIGNIFICANT 

I put down on paper everything that is important to me. That’s everything from the big things (like I listed above), to the little one time things like doctors appointments and getting my vehicle registered in California. 

 PICK YOUR ORGANIZER
I picked up a big monthly & weekly planner that allows me to plan my day based on time, top 3 important items, and a to-do list. It even has a spot for what I’m looking forward to this evening and my gratitude for the day. I appreciate that It separates the “important items” from the “to do list” because it really allows you to feel accomplished if all you were able to do is 3 things. So what my todo list is a mile long, I accomplished the three most important things and that makes my brain happy. 
I include the most important work items in my planner but I also have a smaller to-do notebook on my desk to organize my ten hour work days. It makes me feel so much more accomplished when I get to mark things off as done and motivates me to work harder!
 CUT DOWN ON SCREEN TIME
I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to my phone but I also am not the best at putting it down. Thanks to some nifty new settings from Apple I’ve set myself up for success. First I scheduled “screen down time” from 9pm to 5am which means that only phone calls are allowed in that time and everything else is turned dark. I’ve also set myself an hour limit for all social media apps and once I hit that all of those applications also go dark no matter what time of the day it is. “Going dark” just means that the application icon dims and if you try to open it a message pops up stating that it is locked. You can easily choose to bypass it but it’s a nice simple reminder to my brain that I’ve reached my time limit for the day and to go do something more useful.
 FOSTER A SPACE FOR SUCCESS

When things are dirty or cluttered it’s like my whole brain freezes up. It puts me in a bad mood, I can’t focus, and things just don’t get done. So first off I took an entire weekend to deep clean my apartment. I didn’t only just take out the trash and vacuum but I went through every bin, box, closet, and shelf to toss anything I didn’t need or didn’t find useful. I then reorganized what I had left and finally even got some of my pictures up on the wall I’ve been putting off. Now that everything is clean I make sure to pickup every time I leave the room. I fold the blanket, put the glass in the sink, put the cat toys back where they belong. Every little thing adds up and walking into my apartment now is so relaxing. 

 GET UP EARLY 

This is probably the hardest part for me. But after my fiancé mentioned my ten thousand alarms disrupts his sleep in the morning (lucky duck gets to go to work later than me) I had two reasons to get up early! Now I try to get up on my first alarm, as hard as it is to drag my butt from the bed. My goal is to have time to drink a cup of coffee AT HOME, get ready (which is a snap now that everything is clean and organized) and sit down to read/journal/write a bit before heading off to work. I’m not noticing that my body misses that extra 20/30 minutes of sleep but my brain loves having time to really wake up before getting in the car for work. It tricks me into thinking I have more time, since I can do things for myself before and after my work day.

And that’s what I have so far. It’s still a work in progress, like almost everything in my life. However, it feels so much better than all the clutter I had in my head and my life beforehand. Never be fearful about changing up your routine and until next time, keep on Roaming!

Measuring Success:2018

It’s the end of the year. The time to reflect on everything I did in 2018 and everything it did for me. I had lofty goals: I wanted to complete my 365 mile hiking challenge through Hike Like a Woman, I wanted to read 50 books, I wanted to learn to scuba dive. Did I achieve moving my body 365 self propelled miles this year, no. Did I read all 50 books, no. Did I learn to scuba dive, absolutely not. However, if I measure myself by what I didn’t accomplish I miss out on all of the amazing things I conquered.

This year I participated in the 365 Mile Challenge. I recorded my miles all year; I never gave up or gave in. I ended up clocking a self respectable 320 miles. 320 miles I hiked, ran, walked, AND kayaked. 320 hard earned miles. So what I didn’t hit 365, I went on more hike this year than in my entire life combined. I sparked a new passion for not only hiking, but for the outdoors and am planning my first backpacking trip for the Spring of 2019. I also got to progress this passion with one of my oldest friends who unbeknownst to me had dusted off her hiking shoes two states away and started really pursuing outdoor activities as well. Leading us on some amazing hikes when she visited through my next door National Park, Pinnacles. So I didn’t get all 365 miles, I gained so much more than a mile can count.

I challenged myself to read/listen to 50 books. I ended up with 42. First off, that means I READ 42 books this year. If that’s not an accomplishment I don’t know what is. I learned to turn off the TV, put my phone down, and tune out the world for 30, 40, 60 minute at a time and pick up something worth putting into my mind. I discovered new love for authors I never got around to reading before, like Steinbeck. In my challenge I also included a subdivision to read 10 nonfiction books, something I rarely ever picked up before. I blew that number out of the water, more than doubling it in size. I have a stack of books a mile wide that I’m itching to pick up and read in 2019.

I also did so many more things I couldn’t have even imagined to put down on paper. I learned to love deeply. I started a home with my boyfriend, who then surprised me completely by asking me to be his wife. We then turned our family of two into a family of three adopting our first pet, our adorable black 3 legged kitten named Gypsy. Which means I’ve turned “planning for my future,” into “planning for our future,” and we’re excited to begin planning.

I also gave myself a motto for the year as well as my goals. 2018’s motto was ‘Don’t Stand Still,’ and I definitely didn’t. I made new friends. I went to concerts. I went on road trips. I experienced life and I never said no to an opportunity. I prefer to measure my year in quality, not quantity. The quality of 2018 was one of the best and I’m looking forward to what 2019 has to offer.

 

Happy New Years to you all!

Learning to Roam

Hi my name is Hannah Brotherton and this is my story; My past, present, future, and dreams. To see how far I’ve come and how I’m going to get where I’m going, it’s best to start at the beginning. Enjoy!

To Roam: To go from place to place without purpose or direction. To travel purposefully unhindered through a wide area.

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For the better part of ten years I pushed myself relentlessly on the corporate path. The correct path. Working hard through high school, through college, and landing my first career. Then I pushed myself in my career, climbing the ladder swiftly to become one of the youngest managers in my area. Then…I got stuck. Things weren’t going my way at work, I wasn’t feeling motivated, I was constantly depressed and nothing seemed to being moving forward. What was the point? I could see the levels I could advance to if I pushed myself harder, but I wasn’t happy, and dreaming about those next stages in my career wasn’t making me happier.

Finally as I neared the end of a particularly bad work week I got this unimaginable urge to take off. To where? I had no idea. I didn’t have a lot of money left in my account but I had a full tank of gas and two days off, I would figure it out. I threw an overnight bag in my car, turned off my phone, put a new CD on the radio (yes I’m still old school, I love a good CD) and just started driving north. The rest of that story is a great topic for another time but the point is that drive cleared my head. All 19 hours of it. It was my first REAL solo adventure. It was the first time I went somewhere with a direction but not necessarily a plan, and I felt free. When I returned from that trip I was happy and I was refreshed, and I was desperate to figure out a way to hang on to that feeling.

As I started dreaming of an adventure life I realized another seriously important fact about myself. I still loved the corporate life as well. I love managing my office, I love working with accounts, and I loved mentoring my employees. I also couldn’t see myself ever giving up the other perks: the steady paycheck, the GREAT healthcare, and my 401k. I’m still not ready to toss those aside just to go racing off on an adventure. I know a lot of people do drop everything for an adventure and are able to find happiness in just that, and maybe one day I will to. Until then, this blog is about how I balance both. How I organize my free time, plan my adventures, and prioritize everything that is important to me. How I fulfill my needs to be in a corporate environment and explore. How I ROAM.2EF0D5A8-D19E-4A83-8562-F6B827C199F3