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Thursday, April 22, 2004

FROM CAVE TO CATHEDRAL IN 15 MONTHS

... being a summary of the events that led inexorably to the April 16th matrimony of stampshady Grimm and Faerie Muse, with accompanying on-site photographs and post-ceremonial recountings:

THE CAVE ENCOUNTER

Faerie Muse: Like I said, we're not spelunkers. "Spelunkers" are typically guys with handheld flashlights and no safety equipment rambling through a cave destroying or taking anything of beauty. Cavers, on the other hand, are well-trained, equipped and prepared folks who are conservation-minded with the motto, "take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time."

Anyway, this particular trip was on a snowy January morning...

We met in a smaller cave that is mostly inactive, but has some interesting formations nonetheless. Dramatic flowstone, cave popcorn, bacon strips and very pretty stalactites can be found in the cave where we met.

Stamp was called to join us spur of the moment and as he was in the area, our group waited at our vehicles before starting the hike to the cave entrance. When he arrived and stepped out of his truck, he glanced over at me. He held my gaze for just a moment, but it was enough to fluster the heck out of me-- I've never seen such beautiful green eyes! As it turned out, he did not have his gear with him and needed a pair of gloves and I just happened to have an extra pair. Keep in mind, I was already shook up, so as I handed him the gloves, I explained they were cold weather, military-issue made especially for . . . . Australia! Of course, I meant to say Alaska, but did not realize my mistake-- even after he replied (with the sweetest smile), "Yes, I understand there's quite a need for cold weather gear in Australia." It took me a day or two before it dawned on me, and I was sure he would think I was a half-wit!

While in the cave, I noticed he stuck close and was very attentive. People who know me know I am a strong hiker, so rarely am I offered assistance in rough areas. While traversing a particularly tricky spot, Stamp turned to me and offered his hand. As I reached up and grasped his hand, I felt electricity surge through my body-- instant chemistry! That was a morning that ended far too soon, but will always be etched in my mind.

Our next meeting wasn't until the following May and took place here in Second Life...

THE IN-WORLD WOOING

stampshady Grimm (as first recounted here): We had met twice before Second Life, but never had the chance to speak, until SL. The same person [we knew] told us both about Second Life. I only knew of her and had seen [her] in passing with friends. It was not like I was gonna get between whomever she was with. I didn't know her; only [knew I] was very attracted... Here, I was helping her to learn SL; she was a newb. And we just found that we were meant to be.

She [now] sits behind me and plays. We each have our own [ISP] service; I have cable and she has DSL. My third bedroom became our Second Life room.

Faerie Muse: After chatting it up a bit here (and realizing we only lived 5 miles apart), we took the relationship out of SL into RL. We now live together and are engaged to be married in June.

THE WEDDING PREPARATIONS

stampshady Grimm: I think the majority of the stress was placed on Baccara, Fey and their whole crew who put this together. The only stress I had was in not knowing what was to come. I told both Fey and Baccara I wanted this to be the most wonderful wedding for Faerie. They told me, "no problem," and went to work, but I never received details during the process. I think I drove them crazy with questions. To keep from bothering them too much, I tried to stay focused on building my new mall, but it wasn't easy . . . the suspense!

Faerie Muse: We had a wonderful group of people who arranged the event: Baccara Rhodes, Evie Fairchild, Fey Brightwillow and Panthar Orlowski, just to name a few. They put a lot of time and thought into the details, so Stamp and I didn't have a lot of stress. I made Stamp's wedding tux as well as the groomsmen's tuxes. I ran right up to the deadline on those as my real life work keeps me very busy... that was a bit stressful! I would have felt terrible sending them down the aisle in their whitey tighties.

ON WHETHER THE IN-WORLD CEREMONY MAKES THEM FEEL MARRIED ALREADY, IN REAL LIFE

Faerie Muse: Our desks are positioned in separate corners of a shared office, so our chairs are slightly back-to-back. He wasn't allowed to peek over his shoulder at my screen until I entered the cathedral to walk down the aisle! It was a bit nerve racking when I was working with Fey on the details of the dress-- he was exiled from the office on a few occasions. After the ceremony, we whipped up a strawberry Second Life wedding cake in real life and toasted our new bond with champagne. We stayed up past 3:00AM and had a very romantic celebration of our own. I definitely already feel we are married.

stampshady Grimm: If you consider "feeling like you're married" the best high in the world, then yes. We were both that high and excited, it was truly wonderful. In fact, we were crazed and wanted to do something, so we dug around in the pantry and found cake mix and frosting. We baked a cake and decorated it with the SL logo, our names and wedding date. We didn't go to bed until after 3:00AM.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARRIAGE IN-WORLD AND MARRIAGE IN THE MATERIAL WORLD

stampshady Grimm: We actually have a sex life in RL.

Faerie Muse: I don't have to pick up Stamp's dirty socks in SL.

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