Sunday, July 27, 2008

My My, How Can I Resist You

So far, I've really only put the F-U into the alleged FUN of wedding planning. I acknowledge that. Asked and answered, your honor! (I know that phrase doesn't really work here, but if you spent 5 years as a lawyer and never got to say that phrase, which is like the COOLEST legal phrase EVER, you too would be throwing it around with reckless abandon.) But now that I'm on wedding cooldown - not to be confused with "wedding lockdown" - see previous posts for full description - (status recap: two weddings, two unfinished guest lists, two unpurchased dresses and 18 unbooked vendors), I think this is a good time to share The Quest for The Dress: Chapter I: The Filene's Basement Sale. (OK, fine, this isn't really Chapter I - it's more like Chapter III in the search for the dress, but the other Chapters involve the sort of snafoos that you would expect from me by now and gosh darn it, that's not the point of this post, so just suspend your disbelief people! Ignore the man behind the curtain. CHAPTER I).

Ah ha! Got you, didn't I? I bet you didn't think for a second that Enraged and Engaged would have her mother voluntarily stay over her apartment (but I did), take a day off work (asked and answered), wake up at 4 a.m. (yes, I did), drive to Towson, Maryland (yup) and sit on line for 3 hours to secure a spot on line (indeed). But I did.

Like the peach on my kitchen counter, I believe that the time is ripe for a confession (in case you're not into checking my timestamp, it's just about 10:30 p.m. and we should all expect my food metaphors, like my post-dinner snacking, to come into full swing now). Back to the confession. If you are relatively new to this blog, you have likely not read my first post. (Hell, I'm pretty sure I didn't read my first post. It simply escaped from me like an exorcised spirit.) And if you didn't read my first post, you likely think I hate weddings - each and every horrific tentacle of the beast - from vendors to vows. But I don't. I LOVE WEDDINGS! No really, I do!! (NO REALLY I DO.) Which is why this whole thing has thrown me for such a loop.

I love reading all the wedding blogs and pouring over details like letter-pressed handmade invitations and locally-grown flowers and I especially adore scrolling through photographs showing creative brides-to-be (sarcasm alert: or more likely, their wedding planners') ability to decorate loft spaces and barns and catering halls and manor houses and vineyards. I am mildly obsessed with wedding magazines and at this very moment I own both the Summer and Fall (the latter, only where currently available in stores of course, this being only August and all) of the following magazines: Brides, Modern Bride, Maryland Bride, Elegant Bride, The Knot, In Style Bride and Baltimore Bride. And of course, completing the trifecta of spousal espousal is the wedding television show. I love them all: Say Yes to the Dress (which I could write MUCH about and probably will - but this is neither the time nor the place), Top 50 Most Fabulous Celebrity Weddings (and any variation thereof on Style and/or VH1 and/or E!), Whose Wedding is it Anyway, the new on the scene (and already embraced) Rock the Reception, and A Wedding Story (the original wedding show and let's face it - a clunky dinosaur - but still better than watching ESPN with Mr. F).

So if you, like me, believe that there is nothing better than a Sunday on the couch, with your hand sitting in a box of Triscuits and a tub of the Trader Joe's tsaziki dip perched on the top of your stomach (the secret is being slouched far enough against the back of the couch so that the container lays flat on the stomach and thus, is secure against collapse when dipped into) washed down by my little spicy princess, Ms. Bloody Mary herself, then you have surely seen the special on the Filene's Basement "Running of the Brides" sale. Feel free to substitute Triscuits for Wheat Thins, Pita Chips, Cheetos and/or Cheese Puffs, Pirate's Booty, Ruffles, or Wasabi Peas and the Greek yogurt sauce for hummus, salsa, guacamole, peanut butter, or onion dip and the Bloody Mary, for just about bloody anything that brings you to a Happy Place. Given this bliss-inducing cocktail of eat, drink and merry, I have no recollection of which of the four connubially-centered channels it was run on (though despite the fact that my recollection is pooled at the vodka-y bottom of a tumbler somewhere, I would put my money on TLC), but I definitely remember one thing: thousands of cheap designer gowns. And that was enough to plant a kernel in my mind. This was something I should definitely pursue.

[I'm SO long-winded. I'm a windBAG. (Yes, I am an aging, overweight man, wearing a tie and a comb over and droning on and on and on. And on. On.) I offer up my apologies; I'd really like to finish this post, but I'm tired. In the meantime, I'm going to nod off to sleep while patting myself on the back - because if this isn't the most positive thing I've written in the almost-two-months since I started this blog, well then I don't know what is. No really, I actually don't know what is. So please leave comments and tell me.]

Friday, July 25, 2008

Mama Mia, Here I Go Again

Things have been mercifully quiet the last 24 hours. That doesn't sound like it should be a big deal, but sweet Jesus, it is.

I forgot to mention how two days ago in the middle of coming to terms with my second reception, contemplating how to break this news to my mother, and pondering the particulars of making my fiance's brother's wife a bridesmaid, that I got a call from my mother-in-law to be.

Flashback to 6 months ago. From the get-go, Future-Mother-in-Law (FMIL) made me PROMISE that I would tell her what color to wear and go shopping with her for her dress as soon as my mother bought hers. I agreed. No problemo in my book. Sure, it was another trip to New Jersey (Mr. F's parents live there also) but this was a relatively easy thing to do to make FMIL happy and I am all about getting the relationship off on the right foot. So as soon as my mother purchased her dress, Future-Mother-In-Law wanted all the details of what my mom bought: color, style, where she bought the dress, etc. I assured her I would get her the details, a picture, and I would come back home for us to go shopping together very soon.
However, she was very persistent on the point of what color she was going to wear. I had concerns about committing to something without showing her a swatch or seeing her try on anything, but she really wanted to know. So I relented and told her I thought a champagne color would look lovely with her dark coloring. I was comforted by the fact that I knew that I would be able to show her the exact shade I was looking for when we went shopping together in a couple weeks since she MADE ME PROMISE I WOULD COME SHOPPING WITH HER. (See the ALL CAPS? That's the lazy writer's modern day literary device to make the reader pay attention to information that will become very important very soon.)

While I was at work two days ago, I got a call from FMIL (because who doesn't want a call from their mother-in-law-to-be while running around the office on a Wednesday preparing for an important meeting happening in two hours? [note: you can substitute mother or pretty much anyone else without a summer job for mother-in-law and I would be equally annoyed because really, there is nothing I hate more than answering my cellphone during the work-day to find the person on the other end is calling you at 10:30 in the morning to talk about insipid crap because they "forgot" you had to work today]). I pick up the phone (because I'm at the point where I'm still trying to be the best little future daughter in law I can be and I believe that includes dutifully answering phone calls) and FMIL says to me: "E&E, I know we said we would go dress shopping together, but I decided to go on my own, and there is a sale at the store next to my hair salon - isn't that great! - and a $3000 dress is on FINAL SALE for $500 and I want to buy it. I'm going to send you a picture of me wearing the dress on your phone and you can tell me what you think. And they won't hold the dress for me so I need to buy it today."

My phone starts buzzing and I flip it open to see the dress. I squint my eyes because I must be seeing wrong. The dress is IVORY. It is a big ballgown floor-length dress that is IVORY. It looks like my mother-in-law is getting married.

My work phone is ringing off the hook with requests for the meeting, people are walking in and out of my office, and I'm trying to send out emails to the clients, all while simultaneously calling Mr. F because I'll be damned if I have to call his mom and tell her that she can't buy the dress because it's white.
So I'm internally conflicted - yes, I realize it sounds terrible to say you can't buy a dress because it's white. It sounds immature and self-absorbed. But can I get a bridal barometer here? - Isn't this the ONE TIME IN MY LIFE (and really, I have never told anyone ever that they shouldn't wear something because it's similar to what I'm wearing. OK, maybe once in like third grade I told my friend she was "copying" when she wore a pink neon Esprit shirt - but SHE WAS and I was 7 and she would have been better off if she wouldn't have worn the shirt because now both she and I have to deal with the shame for all the neon worn so prominently for an entire decade) that I can do that without judgment (if the offending garment is a white dress and to be worn by my mother-in-law)???? Am I really a bad person for not wanting my mother in law to wear a bridal gown?

Truth be told, I can guess what happened. FMIL is a really really nice woman (truly). So I'm guessing that she thought that when I said champagne, I was talking about an ivory color. I was not (I was talking about champagne, a soft gold color with a yellow undertone). I figured I had plenty of time to show her the exact color I was talking about since I was going with her to look. Apparently I didn't. (See? This is where the whole paying attention to the CAPS about 5 paragraphs above comes in handy.) The issue is that she really should have waited for me if she said all along she wanted to wait for me.

What a clusterfuck. (I actually despise that word, but I can't think of a single word that more appropriately describes the situation. And besides, it's almost noon and I picture a clusterfuck as some sort of caramel-ly, nougat-y, irregularly-shaped chocolate ball, found in the Whitman's Sampler with lots of almonds, so that makes me pretty happy). Yum. I'm going to grab lunch.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Up Where the Air is Clear

OK, I have dilly dallied long enough. It's time for everyone to learn the truth: I'm having TWO receptions.

You did not read wrong. Indeed, I said I AM HAVING TWO WEDDING RECEPTIONS.

A little confession - as I write that - I get a little psychotically giddy - sort of maniacally laughing and simultaneously feeling like I might cry. But overall, the complete and utter ridiculousness of the situation has overtaken me and I think it's more funny than anything. This whole situation is so completely and totally outside of the realm of anything I ever imagined for my wedding, my life or anything outside of a Drew Barrymore movie, that I can't help but giggle. (And the phrase "wacky hijinks" keeps coming to mind.)

I'm sure you might be wondering how this came to be (after all, I still sort of find myself wondering how this came to be). I'm also assuming that you're questioning exactly what I mean by two receptions. (You are probably thinking something like: "Oh, I guess she means that they're having a little party at someone's house for people who can't make it or something, right?") Wrong. [The hysterical giggle is caught in my stomach again by the way. And yes, it must be my stomach because it's gurgling and I don't want to even think of what else it could possibly be.]

To explain further: Reception #1 will be in Baltimore with 125-135 people in attendance, catered and complete with photographer (if I ever book one), florist (ditto), DJ (ditterino), and white dress (ditty ditty bang bang).

Reception #2 will be in New Jersey (Sprung From Cages on Hwy 9) with 100-125 people in attendance, complete with catering, DJ, and such nuptially fabulous effects as projected images of me and Mr. F as children flickering on the wall (yes, this is a very specific detail but it's a long story and I can't even begin to explain it here).

I'm tired just thinking about explaining how this all happened. And I wasn't kidding; I'm really not quite sure how this came about. Essentially, Mr. F and I decided that we wanted to keep our wedding relatively small. This meant that both my parents and Mr. F's parents would not have the opportunity to invite every single person that they would like to have at the wedding. And I knew that Mr. F's parents might be the most social people over age 55 I've ever seen (he's a dentist, they play tennis, and do ballroom dancing in their spare time - they're very popular). And I got a little flack from my parents and his parents about this (i.e., neither was able to invite friend's children), but to me, this wasn't really major. In the scheme of other wedding issues, it seemed as though no one was feeling that they were dealing with large-scale friends and/or family omissions. Until the other night. (Which was reviewed in great detail in my post from a few days ago.)

During which discussion it became overwhelmingly apparent that Future-Mother-in-Law and Future-Father-in-Law felt strongly that they had...[calculating on abacus]...about A HUNDRED people that they really HAD TO INVITE and who they were seriously offending by failing to invite them to the wedding. (As an aside, one of the groups of people that they had to invite is now generally referred to in shorthand between me, Mr. F and his parents as "The Romanians" - which is seriously hilarious to me (Mr F's dad is Romanian and apparently every Romanian in the NY/NJ area has a strong friendship that cannot be crossed or else you are "out" of the Romanian circle. It all seems very "Godfather-esque" which is super cool to me and I'm envisioning requests for periodontristry procedures to be made during the wedding reception and my God-Father-in-Law saying to a cowering Romanian acquaintance: "But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me Godfather. Instead, you come into my home on the day my daughter-in-law's to be married and you ask me to do dentistry for dollars." Oh god, that's so terrible, I'm groaning. But still - I love the whole Romanian thing. I'm also hoping they drink lots of vodka like the Russians and/or like blintzes. Although Mr F and I have been dating more than three years and the closest I've seen him come to that is tequila and crepes.)).

After the discussion, as you may recall, the issue was tabled. I reiterated that we'd been hoping to keep the wedding small but we would talk about it later. Two nights later, with the issue still on my mind, I turned to Mr F while in bed and said "Screw it - let's just see how many people your parents are thinking they need to invite and we'll do that. Forget a small wedding - what's the point anyway?" We agreed Mr. F would talk to his parents the following day.

The next night Mr F and I opened a bottle of wine, poured it into two giant blue plastic cups and went for a walk. (Don't judge us. Pre-marital planning of this level would push anyone to dump half a bottle of Trader Joe's white wine into a Dixie Cup. I'm just proud of myself that I'm not carrying a flask in my pocketbook engraved with the words "The wedding is off.") We (as might be expected) returned an hour later, having purchased a bunch of nonsensical organic-y items from Whole Foods (a bad place to go when under the influence) and more than a little tipsy. At which point Mr. F decides he should address the guest list issue with his parents. (Note: "More than a little tipsy" = drunk as a skunk). Twenty minutes later, he comes in from the other room looked slightly bewildered (but let's face it - still pretty happy - that white wine is MAGIC) and says: "My parents are throwing us a second reception at a wedding hall. I think this might be a good solution. [E&E: to what? I don't know] My mom wants to talk to you." He thrusts the phone in my face.

My mind was trying to work a hundred miles an hour to figure out if this was good news or bad news and to calculate a response. But addled with cheap white wine and sheer exhaustion, it simply failed on me. Blank. Next thing I know, I've agreed to a second reception. Honestly I really don't know why or how. I think somehow I was convinced that it would be more convenient and make everyone happy and some other stuff. I'm still a little fuzzy on the details. One detail I'm not fuzzy on - I now need to call my Mom and tell her that the wedding she and Dad are throwing isn't sufficient for Future-Parents-in-Law and that they are throwing a second party of all their friends only and my Parents are requested to attend. Mom should love this one.

[Note: my head is beating over my left eye like a metronome...actually for some reason I keep thinking of the Little Drummer Boy - it's very "rum tum tum tum." Except it's not Christmas. No presents to be had, no eggnog to sip, no tree to decorate. Just the minefields of wedding planning; something ready to detonate around every corner. Merry Frickin Christmas.]

(Craziness Skyrocketing) Up Through The Atmopshere

So now we all agree - this has been pretty crazy, right? The sister-in-law, the colors, the brunch, the changing of the ceremony venue. Crap, I forgot to include that. Darn. Ok, I'll give you the quicky quick on that one. Because while in other Bride's stories of wedding planning drama this would probably play a starring role (see, e.g., any episode of "Whose Wedding is it Anyway"), in mine, this is but a bump down the aisle of matrimony.

I met with the wedding coordinator that the venue offers as part of their package. Essentially a very nice woman who I am fairly sure will be a giant mess on the day of my wedding (our relationship started off with an email introducing herself to me. It began: "Dear Phil and Katie, Congrats on selecting ____ as your wedding venue! I am so excited to work with you!" My name is not Katie. Mr F's is not Phil. But that's a whole other issue that I won't get in to here (somehow I suspect I will have much time to dissect and discuss the trials and tribulations of Big Hugs the wedding coordinator. Real name - not Hugs - but after pointing out that my name wasn't Katie, I got a response email saying "I'm sooooooooo sorry - I sent the wrong names! Big HUGS!" (Big hugs? You don't even know my name!)) So anyway, we'll leave Big Hugs for later.

I met with Big Hugs and we took a walk back around the venue as I told her my vision (which I don't really have, but all brides apparently have a "vision", so I made one up as I went along). And then she said to me: "Oh! I should totally take you to see the renovations of the ceremony room - they're almost done!!"


" one told you when you signed the contract?? They're changing around the ceremony room. Why don't we take a look?"

And we did. That's when I saw that the lovely green walls which were cool and classy had been replaced with a red and gold fabric and then marble floor had been covered with Oriental rugs and the altar was now covered in red carpeting. The serene and classy ceremony room I had agreed to walk down now looked like the World Market outlet. (OK, I know this sounds really silly, but I happen to hate the color red; it makes me inexplicably anxious. So the replacement of the green with the red was not good.)

Big Hugs leaned over and gave me an awkward hug. A big hug, in fact. And she told me that "It will be ok." Oh Big Hugs, how little you know.

And I know that this was supposed to be just an introduction to the big drama that is currently going on, but I'm spent; so, like everything in my life these days, I'll just postpone the update a little bit longer.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

And Send it Soaring

Now I wish my very first post as a positive, Martha Stewart-esque Bride was going to be uplifting and happy. But it's not. (Old habits die hard, and just changing my blog's focus hasn't solved the problems that plague my wedding planning.)

Instead I'm going to share with you what this past weekend was like. As with all things that run afoul, it began in New Jersey. (Ok, I'm sorry, I don't actually hate New Jersey, but it's so helpless and easy to make fun of that I just can't help it.) But this really did happen in NJ.

Mr. F and I were going to good ole NJ for his Father's birthday. I was less-than-pleased to be spending more time in NJ on the heels of Brunchgate, but obviously had little choice (having a job where I used to work incessantly on the weekends did have one upside - a lovely built in excuse to avoid going to visit relatives on the weekend..."Sorry, Aunt Lilian, I'd love to come to the Glen Miller revival festival in the Poconos this weekend but I have to file this motion on Monday and the senior partner will be very angry if I don't do it.") As such, we traveled up to New Jersey whereupon the crap that is wedding became even more acute.
First, I went dress shopping with my mom. Which was fine. Except (feel free to review previous posts) that I had previously changed my entire color scheme just so my Mom could find a dress complimentary to her skin tone. She jettisoned all colors selected and chose green. FINE.

Then, I rushed off from dress shopping with Mom to have a discussion with Baskin-Robbins. (As you may recall, Baskin-Robbins is my sister-in-law to be - that would be Mr. F's brother's wife - who I have not invited to be a bridesmaid.) I took B-R to lunch and cried while telling her why I didn't make her a bridesmaid. Her response was actually fabulous, something along the lines of "it's your wedding, I totally understand and I didn't expect to be asked anyway." Woo-hoo! Moment of complete fulfillment. See? It only takes a little maturity and perspective for things to go right. Wrong.

Finally, on Mr. F's father's birthday, I sat at the table with Mr. F and his parents who tell me they have some people to add to the guest list. (And I swear on all that is holy, that this is true.) To be exact, they have 26 people to add. Actually, they have about 40 people to add, but they think only 26 will actually come. And before I can get a crying jag in edgewise, they also tell me that they have gone to all these people's weddings and it's an embarrassment not to invite them to their son's, that they don't understand why I wouldn't want to invite people who are just going to give me money, and that they have known these people 30 years.

Can someone give me a reality check at this juncture by the way? Am I the ONLY person who doesn't (honest to god) care about how much money I get as gifts from guests? I don't see the number of guests I invite as an investment (which is why I want a small wedding). Maybe I am silly? I'm feeling more like that everyday. I honestly just picture the wedding as a small group of intimate friends and family seeing me at my happiest and most vulnerable. And the idea of complete strangers watching me like a TLC wedding reality television show just so I can get $500 bucks from them repulses me. My wedding isn't a financial investment; it's an emotional one.

Not to mention the fact that I don't see my wedding day as one where I want to make small talk with people I have never met. I don't want to be asked "what do you do for work?" on my wedding day. Or "where did you grow up?" or "Has your hair always been red?" or "Where are your parents from?". To me, this is a day when people should know these things. Maybe they don't need to know every single thing about me, but I didn't like speed dating when I was single, why would I want to spend my wedding day engaged in the very same sort of ritual? (Greet, small talk chat, move on. Greet, small talk chat, move on. NO THANK YOU.)

Anyway, Mr. F ushered me outside after about 15 minutes of talking with the Future-in-Laws. And the tears starting coming before we even got outside the door. The decision was that we would make no decision on this one for now. (Which doesn't bode well for the Save the Dates sadly sitting in my house. They've been hoping to find homes throughout the US and to valiantly inform people of my wedding date, but instead they've patiently waited day after day on my kitchen table with no travel in sight.)

Fast forward to Tuesday morning (yes, just yesterday). I spent all of Monday telling everyone how I successfully navigated the Baskin-Robbins snafoo. SO PROUD! I was dwelling on the positive - not the negative!

I'm chugging my coffee and simultaneously putting on makeup (since I'm once again late for work - an amazing feat given that I'm only a few blocks away) when the phone rings. It's Mr. F. "Hi, Sweetie Pie. So I debated whether to tell you this, and I probably shouldn't, but I just spoke with my Mom and apparently Baskin-Robbins has been crying since Sunday since she feels so left out since she's the only person not in the wedding party."

And my response: "Haha! You're SOOOO funny." [Relationship history: Mr. F & I are notorious for playing tricks on each other and trying to get the other to believe some completely false fact. I have some good stories on this tip that I should add in here at some point.]

"No really, actually I'm not joking."

"HAHA! I'm not falling for this. I just talked to Baskin-Robbins two days ago and she was totally fine with everything. We even went shoe shopping after." [Note: I got a great pair of brown heels for winter - Nordstrom is having their Semi-Annual Sale.]

Silence settled and I realized that Mr. F. was not joking. So apparently while telling me to my face that all was ok, Baskin-Robbins was crying to everyone else that she couldn't believe I didn't include her. (By the way, if she felt bad, I could certainly understand that - you can't control your feelings. My issue is that by telling everyone in the world how terrible she feels, it reflects badly on me and makes me feel awful and once again, I'm in a lose-lose situation. And I guess this might sound incredibly selfish, but this reaction only reinforces my original suspicion - if this girl was in my wedding party, I would end up babysitting her and her tender feelings on my wedding day, rather than focusing on the less-important-every-day-task-at-hand of getting myself married.)

And how did I resolve this one? I haven't. Screw it. I did my part and I'm over it. Besides, I have bigger issues to deal with. No really, I do. Stay tuned.

Up To the Highest Height

I've been thinking how negative my blog is and I'm wondering if it's perpetuating my own bridal self-destruction. So [thinking aloud here] I wonder if perhaps maybe I should provide a more balanced view of my wedding planning experience. I have to admit to myself that for the most part, this has been a pretty craptacular experience, but there have also been some pretty fun parts. And maybe, (just maybe!), by focusing on the things I am enjoying, I can let some of the other things slide off my back. Because right now, everything is only sliding into my stomach, which is in perpetual knots, and down my throat, because I am stress eating like a girl sitting home alone on prom night. (Not judging those who have, just drawing a comparison. No judgement here people!)

So, from here forth I will - like 10/10 winds or 60 minutes or one of those smarty shows or periodicals (maybe NY Times?) provide a fair and balanced view of planning a wedding. The good, the brunch, and the ugly. Meh, it's worth a try, right? I can always go back to being just jaded.

Go Fly A Kite

So much to catch up on. I know I never gave the details of Brunchgate - but that seems so long ago! (And so insignificant in the scheme of crap that has occurred since then.) But I know there must be hundreds, alas THOUSANDS, of bride-to-be's perched at the edge of their seat, in front of their computer, filled with rage and frustration regarding their own wedding and just waiting for E&E to fill them in on the details of Brunchgate. So of course, I will.

It arrived innocently enough - a wee lil email in the inbox from Mom. I skimmed the first part - "Please include in your save the dates that there is another hotel guests can stay in - the Marriott Renaissance in the Inner Harbor....yada yada yada". [I TOLD you my parents are obsessed with the Marriott!! No one believes me!] OK, fine. I think it's silly to provide a hotel to stay in that's miles from the venue when said venue is attached to a lovely hotel, but whatever.

Then I saw the next part: "And by the way, Dad and I decided we want to have the brunch at the Marriott also. I'm sure you understand since we need our own private space."

[Counting to ten to avoid screaming with rage at work.]

To backtrack. On three separate occasions Mom has said she wanted brunch at the Marriott, when, as already established above, there is a lovely hotel where guests will be staying ATTACHED to the wedding venue. Said hotel has a restaurant. That serves BRUNCH. Mother and Father are essentially recommending that all guests leave the hotel on the morning after the wedding to catch cabs in the freezing/snowy/raining/sleeting February weather and pay about $20 round trip to get to the Marriott to have some eggs (and bagels, don't forget the frackin bagels). Why? GOD ONLY KNOWS. OK, fine. I know too. The pretextual reason is that they said we need our own private room (the hotel said they can seat us all together in a "section" but doesn't have a room per se). However, E&E knows better. They think it's too casual and more importantly, they are obsessed with the Marriott (and Marriott points, which for those of you NOT in the know - accumulate like airline miles to give you free nights at the hotel. Yeah, you get the picture). All that aside, here's the thing - I expressed on multiple occasions that this issue should be TABLED. Not discussed at this time. It is a hotbutton issue and I don't want to discuss it.

So what do my parents do? They ignore both my actual preference for where brunch should be and my plea to table the issue and they lay down the law according to M&D in an email. An EMAIL! Which is when I lost my breakfast potatoes. (Yeah I know that's not a saying, but god, I am dying for some french fries or potato-related food right now and "lost my potatoes" sounds terribly funny to me and obv keeps with the brunch theme.)

I went on high alert. LEVEL RED for wedding cancellation (i.e., Guests, cancel your hotel and see airline's policy on changing flights.) I let everyone on GCHAT and Facebook know that wedding cancellation may be imminent. I calculated the amount of money spent (and presumably lost) to date. Just so everyone understands, this isn't just about brunch. You all get that, right? This is about the complete and utter loss of control of everything to do with my wedding and apparently my life and the disrespect (really, that's what it is) for my wishes - even when those wishes are as simple as a request that we not talk about an issue.

After notifying Brother (who is quite supportive after having been married last October and experiencing The Crazy first-hand...all of which is a whole other blog/story/therapist's dream in itself) and notifying Mr. F, I was forcibly put on lockdown. Wedding Lockdown. The phone, the computer, the blackberry, all of it. The iron walls came crashing down and I was in a windowless/doorless cell; I was refused access to these items so that I did not do anything rash. (Rash things = call my parents to tell them I hate them, call my parents to cancel wedding, call the wedding venue to cancel wedding, call guests to tell them to book vacations and other things for that date because there is no wedding).

So I waited 48 hours and did nothing. Alert level was lowered to ORANGE for wedding cancellation (i.e., Don't book your flight just yet, but don't plan that trip to Tahiti for that weekend either).

Two more days passed and I was on Yellow (i.e., Bride is numb and colored with indifference; guests should feel free to resume life as normal. Book your flight (preferably with a flexible cancellation policy) and hotel room (ditto)).

The result? Finally, I regained my wits about me and worked with the restaurant manager to get our own room at the hotel restaurant if we guaranteed a certain number of guests, thereby pleasing my parents by addressing their pretextual reason for Marriott brunch option. Problem solved. (Sort of, since they quibbled that the Marriott brunch is $2 cheaper per person so I now need to negotiate down on the brunch, but that's neither here nor there...although it is...but whatever.)

Anti-climactic you say? Not even. Because while the resolution was forming on Brunchgate, I was already dealing with the next chapters of my bridetastic story.


The nuptial shit is flying so fast and furious that I don't even have time to blog about it. But since I'm clearly about five minutes from getting fired from my job, I might as well put the nails in the coffin and catch up today once I get to work. Will update imminently. Toodles!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Haircutting: The Grudge

The saga of brunch can wait (I'm still seething at Brunchgate, so I can't even talk about it yet and besides, this thing will be going on for some time as I still haven't replied to the offending parental email - which I know I haven't described here yet...but I will...oh yes, I will...). And by the way, I totally should not blog at night, because just the very word "brunch" got my stomach rumbling for some delicious sunny side up eggs over American cheese on top of a buttery English muffin. I feel like my own stomach is a traitor; it should not be perked up by brunch, the enemy. (Yes, I know there is a great Benedict joke, I won't make it even though I really want to...and did you notice? It's also American cheese and an English muffin!! - it's almost too much.) Anyway, treacherous jokes aside, have I mentioned that this wedding planning thing has also been bad for my diet? (I'm a stress eater.) OK. Sorry. Eyes on the Prize. HAIRCUT.

So this past weekend, amidst the chaos of palette picking, bridesmaid browsing, and the horror of that goddamn brunch, I had to get a haircut. I was also acutely aware that I just moved to a completely new city and that I needed to find a stylist whom I could love and trust with my locks on my wedding day pronto. [Damn, now I want lox on a bagel.]

I turned to the Internet, being that my colleagues' age hovers somewhere around the median of 50 and Mr. F (*cough* folicularly challenged *cough*) is not exactly a repository of information on the subject. I did a bit of research, read some chat boards, found a shop, placed a call and had an appointment for the next day. On Sunday I dutifully wrote down the name and address of the shop and walked to the neighborhood where I would find my hair's new soulmate. Or at the very least, a capable stylist. You know, one or the other. When I got to the address, I looked up at the sign. And then down at my scrap of paper. Same address. Different name. Hmm.

I peered inside and saw a salon. Interesting. I stepped inside and asked if it was the place I was expecting. "Oh no, hon, the old owners sold this salon to me. It's a different place now. All new. Different stylists, everything." Hmmm.

This is the point in the movie where you're shouting "DONT GO IN THE BASEMENT. THE KILLER'S IN THE BASEMENT!!"

I went in the basement.

I sat in the chair and the receptionist / owner / lead stylist and I started chatting about what I was looking for. After a minute or so I said: "Really, I'm fine if you want to cut bangs, or don't cut the bangs, but what is really important is that we keep the length. I'm getting married in about six months and I want to wear my hair mostly down for my wedding day and that's how my fiance likes it." Response: "Oh hon, of course. Yeah, yeah. That's real nice, you know, you're gettin married. We'll keep the length, doncha worry, hon."

Well we've all seen the horror movies, right? I was chopped up. It was a slaughter - pieces flying everywhere. I kept crying for help, asking "you're keeping the length, right?" (that "right" was said in the most piercing high pitch imaginable...a crescendo marching upwards only to find the end of my imagined wedding day bouffant).

And when she was done, she had given me layers. Lay-ers. Noun. Def. The cutting of one's hair away from the face and in the front so that only a small area in the back has any length and does not in any way, shape or form give the appearance of LONG hair. I looked at her, with a sad resigned look and said, "It doesn't look very long to me." And she went around behind me, and took the hair off my back and brought it in front of my shoulders and said: "See! It can look long! And wait till you straighten it - it'll look even longer!! Blade, can you straighten this one?"

And therein lies the twist. The worst was yet to come.

A tall, lanky punk rocker with long dark hair with shaved sides dyed pink comes over to me. Generally, I think punk rocker bodes well in a salon. To me, that means they are cooler than me and thus, they will cut and/or style hair better and/or supremely cooler than I could. But owner / receptionist / hair killer / stylist says to Blade, "are you sure you're ok with this?" Are you sure you're ok with THIS? What the FUCK does THAT mean? I straighten my hair every frickin morning half asleep in two minutes flat. What the hell is wrong with this fella if he needs a checking on before he straightens my hair.

And so he starts flat ironing my hair. And I am hideously frozen. Like watching the victim who's discovered the killer in the basement; you're in the comfort of the theater, screaming at her "RUN! RUN! Do something! Yell for help! SCREAM!" But she does nothing, as she is absolutely frozen by her fear. I too, was completely unable to move. Because I just looked at Blade's hands and realized that they were shaking in a way that I had never seen a person who was NOT in a movie have their hands shake. And this person was in real life. Next to me. Holding a 450 degree iron next to my forehead. And cheeks. And (*gasp*) eyes. And then, half way though, he puts down his weapon and runs to the bathroom. I look around but no one seems to notice. Or is disturbed. Five minutes later, still no Blade. But owner / psycho hair killer / receptionist notices that he's gone and asks me if I want to pay in cash or credit. And no, they don't take Amex.

Goddammit. Less 5 inches hair and eighty bucks and not even an airline mile to show for it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Lark, A Spree, It's Very Clear To Me

My parents are insane. Flat out insane. And I'm only saying insane instead of what I really think - which is that they are incredibly selfish - because I hate the idea that that is who my parents really are.

But let me back up. So we booked a place. A very nice place and I readjusted all my expectations for my wedding, realizing that I would need to compromise with my parents to make them happy since after all, they were footing the bill. However, I told them that I felt as though I was losing control of this wedding and that my happiness and/or my impending nuptials had very little to do with this event. Rather, impressing their friends from Sad Pathetic Lexus-Owning Upper-Class, USA was the main goal of the day. (And shouldn't it be? After all, isn't that why we get married? It isn't? Shocking.) And we agreed to compromise. (Just to make sure my entire premise isn't on shaky ground - compromise generally means that multiple forces with varying of differing viewpoints agree to adjust those opinions and/or desires in an effort to reach some common ground, yes? Yes.)

[Aside: as I'm typing this, I'm so angry I am literally shaking and my stomach is burning and my chest hurts. Just so you know.]

OK. So since we have booked a place, the following things have happened:

1) I chose my wedding colors - peach, brown and gold. I told my mom said colors and offered up the fact that she would look lovely in a champagne colored dress. She told me she "doesn't look good in champagne" and then lamented how [LARGE SIGHHHHHHHHH] she would "just have to wear brown AGAIN" [note: Mom wore brown to Brother's wedding last October]. E&E changed the colors of her wedding so Mom could wear a dark plum wine colored dress which is better suited to her complexion. New wedding colors - peach, brown, and plum-wine.

2) Mom reviewed the budget and gave E&E the *look* when she saw that money was allotted to pay for a babysitter for those guests who were told that the reception is an "adult only" event. (Note: E&E has friends with young children; Mom does not have any friends or family with young children.) Another *look* was supplied when Mom saw money allotted for decorations including, chivari chairs and uplights. Mom then said that money needed to be used for valet parking and a $3 upgrade per person for better wine, because the house wine was not satisfactory (to be fair, this was Dad who wanted E&E to spend $500 for better wine). Note also that Mom and E&E had agreed that since E&E chose the hotel as a compromise, that Mom would allow E&E to make decisions about decorating for the reception. Apparently there was no decisions to be made because all of the money would go to things that Mom wanted. And then there is nothing to decide. Or to decorate with. Except her own tears. Salt makes a beautiful mosaic apparently.

3) Mom told E&E she "needed to get something off her chest." This was the fact that E&E was a poor decision-maker and she was doing something she would regret for the REST...OF... HER...LIFE. She was not inviting her fiance's brother's wife to be a bridesmaid. Got that? (Yes, Mom just suggested that the girl who told the guy who was in her gym class that she saw Ferris at 52 Flavors last night should be in her wedding party.) And to be clear - Mr. F's Brother's Wife (we'll call her Baskin Robbins) is very nice. But more importantly, I don't know her middle name. Or her birthday. Or her favorite color, or least favorite color, or ice cream flavor. And I've never even seen her drunk, or held her hair back when she puked, or seen her cry. But I'm supposed to make her my bridesmaid? And I know what you might be thinking. You're thinking - bitch. I know. But you've got it wrong. I have invited Mr. F's sister to be in the wedding party - but I've known Mr F's sister since we met each other (and they were roommates). And when Mr. F moved away and we dated long distance, F's Sister (who I was about to call "Fister" but then changed my mind...yeah) and I actually hung out on our own. Baskin Robbins I have met exactly 6 times. And 3 of those times were for less than 20 minutes. Really. OH! And more evidence as to why I am NOT A BAD PERSON - I have not asked a friend who I have known for 20 years (literally we met in 6th grade) to be a bridesmaid because I had to stop this thing called the wedding party from getting out of control. (We're up to 7 on each side.) And yes, I was in her wedding a few years back. And I know she'll be ok with this because the others I selected MAKE SENSE. But this would not. And then Friend Of Twenty Years would think - "Wow, I guess our friendship is over if she chose a girl she met three times over me." OK, done venting on this one. And yeah, I have no frickin clue where I started or what the point was and my narrative thread is wrapped around the stem of my glass of Cabernet, so screw it.

4) [Taking deep breaths.] We have arrived at the camel. My goodness, she is carrying quite a load there. Don't know how she hasn't just shit her hump. And witness now...yes, watch carefully...while I just take this TEENSY little straw, so light, so little and just put it on her back. Except that this tiny straw is not tiny; you have been fooled. It is in fact a giant piece of FRENCH TOAST I am putting on the camel's back and the camel is SMOOSHED.

OK, so the camel looks up to see what in fact this thing is that has just ruined it all for him. And by god, it's BRUNCH!

In the infamous words of Elton John, "I'm a brunch, I'm a brunch, oh the brunch is back." (For an introduction to the wonders of E&E's parents' obsession with brunch, see e.g., post regarding Plan D - Mission Accomplished.)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Every Task You Undertake

I think forlorn is the right word. But if it's not, then it's a word I like. Maybe defeated and tired are better or more accurate, or whatever. That's how I felt after the collapse of Plans A, B, Bb, C, and D. And I resolved that I was done. Done with "Plans" or attempts or full-scale reconnaissance. I was just going to find a hotel and make my parents happy and try to repair my worsening ulcer by just choosing something.

And you know what? I did. I looked at about 20 more places, all in Baltimore. And then I went to the first one on the list. And it was really nice. Beautiful, in fact. Was it my personality? No. Was it where I envisioned getting married? No. Was it lovely? Absolutely. And so I told Mr. F. He looked. And agreed. Lovely. Done. And I told Mom and Dad. ["Yes Mom, it's a hotel. No Mom, it's not a Marriott."]

And lo and behold, they said ok.

And we actually signed a contract. And pried a deposit out of my Mom's tightly wound fist.

And I have a date. And a location.

Yes, I'm excited. But also, a little...forlorn.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just a Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down

Officially six months since the engagement. And not a venue in sight.

I decided to bite the bullet and look at hotels for wedding venues (i.e., what my parents want; not what I want).*

Spoonful of sugar = shutting my parents up.

Medicine = hotel wedding.

Apparently, in every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. If I just FIND THE FUN, then *snap*, the job's a game. I'm going to find the fun. Be back soon.

*As an aside, I feel inclined to note that my parents are OBSESSED with the Marriott. I have no idea why. Not to say Marriott isn't nice. But it's odd. And all types of Marriott - Marriott Courtyard, Marriott Renaissance, you name it. Odd. And annoying when trying to plan a wedding. (e.g., "Mom, I found this hotel for our guests to stay in!" [pause] "Is it a Marriott?")