As I briefly blogged last night, Evelin and I took a quick trip up to Massachusetts on Thursday for the wedding of some friends. K---, Evelin's old roommate and a long-time friend, has been in a Vermont-sanctioned civil union since 2001, but since the Vermont law that created civil unions explicitly states that while such unions do carry essentially the same rights and responsibilities of marriage, they are not recognized outside of the Vermont.
Therefore, as soon as K--- and T--- could apply for a marriage license on 17 May, they did. Three days later (the mandatory waiting period in Massachusetts) they and two other couples had a joint wedding ceremony on the steps of the old Town Hall in Easthampton.
It was a nice, simple ceremony, with about 60 people (friends, family, and a few curious passersby), but also a political statement covered by the local newspaper [registration required] and WWLP-TV from Springfield, which carried part of the ceremony live during the 5 o'clock news. In part it was a political statement (K--- and T--- consider the date of their civil union as their anniversary), but they have been together since 1998 and married in all but name since 2001, so it made sense to take advantage of the rights afforded to them as soon as the state recognized its responsibility to treat all citizens equally. That said, it sounds like their 2004 taxes are going to be a pain to file (especially since they both work in Connecticut and have to file taxes in that state, as well as Massachusetts and federal taxes).
Afterwards, about 30 of us went for dinner at The Brasserie 40-A in Northampton. It's been a while since I lived there, and its neat to see what all has changed and what remains the same.
On Friday, we went for breakfast at the Miss Florence Dinner and then walked around Northampton some more, and Evelin and I were on the road back to D.C. around noon.
While the trip up was nice (we left early and stopped at Evelin's sister's in New Jersey to visit with her and our niece and to wait out the end of the morning rush hour; we also got a bunch of baby clothes), the trip home was the single worst drive back that I've ever had. (And considering I spent nearly a year while Evelin and I were dating driving back and forth between Massachusetts and D.C. every other weekend, I think I've seen a lot of bad traffic on those roads.)
We lost about an hour a little after New Haven, Connecticut, because of an SUV rollover accident that closed the Merritt Parkway, then all the approaches through New York City were sounding backed up, so we swung north across the Tappan Zee Bridge. Which left us in more traffic on I-87/I-287.
I was starting to think we need to find a way to swing way west and take the long way through Pennsylvania, but Evelin talked me into less of a detour and the Turnpike. We took some backroads down to the Garden State, which was backing up almost as much as my frustration levels were rising. In the end, we just sat in a lot of traffic (by this time, it was the early afternoon rush out of the city that had us doomed) that eventually broke up down the turnpike. What should have been a six-hour or so drive turned into eight and a half hours.
Today, Evelin's been working in the garden, getting okra into the ground, harvesting the last of the spring spinach and pulling up the plants so there's room to plant bell peppers, and trying to convince me to finally take out the fig tree. I'm doing the laundry, but really I just want to hang around and be lazy to decompress from that drive.